Thirty-three people died after a Mozambique Airlines plane went missing Friday in bad weather and crashed in a Northeast Namibia game park, police said today, according to a Reuters report.
Flight TM 470 was en route Friday from Maputo, Mozambique to the Angolan capital of Luanda with 27 passengers and six crew when it lost contact with air traffic controllers, the national carrier said in a statement.
Rescue workers found the burned wreckage of the aircraft in dense bush of Bwabwata National Park near the Angola-Botswana border.
The plane went down in a deserted, swampy area where Namibia is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between Botswana and Angola, according to a VoiceOfRussia report.
The European Union banned Mozambique Airlines and all air carriers certified in Mozambique from flying in its airspace in 2011, citing “significant safety deficiencies,” according to the VoiceOfRussia report.
The concern was over Mozambique’s civil aviation authority rather than the track record of the various airlines, the report said.
“The plane has been completely burned to ashes and there are no survivors,” said Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton.
Villagers in the area told police they heard explosions, Bampton said.
Nationalities of the 27 passengers on Flight TM470 included 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, one French, one Brazilian and one Chinese, Mozambique Airlines said on its website. Earlier, the airline said there were 28 passengers on board.
The plane’s black boxes including the voice recorder were found and removed by investigators, a Bwabwata game ranger at the scene said in the Reuters report.
“The bodies are scattered all over the place. It’s a horrible sight,” said the ranger, who identified himself as Shinonge.
The remote, 2,300-square-mile park is home to elephants, lions, wild dogs and other wildlife.
Namibia’s aircraft investigation unit launched a helicopter search for the plane on Friday but called it off because of heavy rain, an investigator said. The search resumed on Saturday.
The Brazil-based plane manufacturer Embraer SA said in a statement that the plane was delivered to Mozambique Airlines in November 2012. It said it was sending its own technicians to the crash site.