DRC plane makes emergency landing

2010-06-21 21:12

Kinshasa - A plane belonging to a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) airline was forced to make an emergency landing on Monday after take-off from the capital Kinshasa, but there were no injuries among the 101 passengers.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-80, operated by Congolese company Hewa Bora Airways, was travelling from the capital to Goma in the east of the country, via Kisangani.

According to an AFP reporter who witnessed the incident, the plane did an about-turn shortly after take-off when the pilot noticed that one of the tyres on the aircraft was punctured.

The pilot landed the plane on brushy ground next to the airport after dumping fuel to avoid an explosion, and none of the passengers suffered any injuries.

The head of Hewa Bora Airlines could not be reached to provide any more details immediately after the accident.

Aviation accidents occur regularly in the DRC, and all of its approximately 50 registered airlines are on the European Union's blacklist which means they cannot enter European air space.

The most deadly accident recorded in the DRC took place on April 15 2008, when a Hewa Bora flight crashed near Goma killing 50 people and injuring 100.

On its website, Hewa Bora describes itself as the number one airline in the DRC.