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Mozambican plane crashes in Namibia

Sat, 30 November 2013 16:40
by Confidence Musariri
News Flash

A plane from Maputo, Mozambique to the Angolan capital Luanda has crashed in Namibia's Bwabwata national park in the Zambezi Region. All 28 passengers and six crew on board the LAM airlines are feared dead. Director of Aviation in the Namibian government Angeline Simana confirmed that a search chopper from is currently headed to the lion infested national park after villagers in that woke up to debris that is believed to be of flight TM470. "The area is inaccessable and with the high number of dangerous animals in that park, we are expecting the worst," she said. The Bwabwata National Park lies some 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of Rundu, 700 kilometres from the capital, Windhoek. Flight TM470 took off from Maputo at 09.26 GMT and had been due to land in the Angolan capital Luanda at 13.10 GMT, but never arrived, the airline said in a statement yesterday. "The weather was very bad on Friday and we had to call off the search. Based on the evidence of photos from the villagers, we are are sure the plane could have crashed in a dangerous terrain. We now have two search helicopters searching the scene," confirmed a Mr Shilongo heading the search teams. LAM airlines spokesman Norberto Mucopa could not confirm the nationalities of the people on board the Brazilian-made Embraer 190 or if they included government officials."The last contact was in the north of Namibia," he said. LAM CEO Marlene Manave told journalists the last contact with the aircraft had been at 1130 GMT.Heavy rain in the area where it disappeared complicated the search, she said, according to Canalmoz newspaper. The 6,100-square-kilometre (618-square-mile) reserve covers the narrow strip of land formerly known as the Caprivi strip, a sparsely-populated area with wetlands and dense forests.The European Union banned LAM from flying in its airspace in 2011."Significant safety deficiencies" led to the blacklisting of all air carriers certified in Mozambique, the EU said at the time.The concern was about Mozambique's civil aviation authority, rather than the track record of the various airlines.