At least three people killed in plane crash in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

At least three people have died in a plane crash in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) South Kivu province, says the provincial transport minister while another local official says the death toll could be as high as five.

The small passenger plane went down in the village of Keisha, about 15km from the territorial headquarters town of Shabunda, officials said on Thursday.

The Malu Aviation plane had left the city of Goma en route to Shabunda in South Kivu province, Associated Press reported.

Provincial Transport Minister Mathieu Malumbi said at least three of the six people on board had been killed.

Emergency services were dispatched to the site to locate survivors and determine the cause of the crash, he said.

Shabunda airfield administrator, where the plane was expected to land, Kashombana Bin Sale told Reuters five people were on board the flight, all of whom died in the crash.

“We sent a team to the village of Keisha where we learned that the crash had taken place,” Sale said.

“On their return, they informed us that the plane was burned and that five people on board were dead.”

Dieudonne Kashombanya, administrator of Shabunda, said they have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the crash.

“We sympathise with all the families of the people killed,” he said.

As per Malu Aviation’s website, it offers cargo and charter flights in the region.

Plane crashes are not uncommon in DRC, though flights are still viewed as safer than overland travel because the region is home to many armed groups.