The aircraft, reportedly registered EK-76300, was said to have been carrying carrying a crew of six, five of them Armenian, plus a police officer. Flight Safety Foundation assigns that registration to an 1978-vintage Il-76T of Armenian company Air Highnesses.
The aircraft was originally reported as being operated by Trans Air Congo, but this was denied by the airline. Later reports said the aircraft was being operated by another Congolese company, Aéro-Service.
The rescue services director at the scene, Georgelin Massemba, was quoted by the French newspaper Libération as saying that the aircraft, which had flown from Congo’s main economic centre, Pointe-Noire, was attempting to land in heavy rain around 1730 local time on Friday.
Massemba said the Il-76 crew was unable to generate enough braking force on the wet runway and attempted to go around, but failed to get airborne again and ran off the end of the runway into homes and a bar in the district of La Poudrière.
After ploughing through the buildings, the aircraft ended up in a ravine approximately 1000m from the threshold and burst into flames.
According to the Congolese Red Cross, 32 bodies have so far been recovered and at least 14 people are in hospital. However, with recovery efforts in the area continuing, the death toll may rise.
The freighter was reported to have been carrying five cars.
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