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Kigali: Plane taxis in auto into vip lounge

Posted by Popular Ombudsman on November 13, 2009

A Rwandair passenger plane bound for Uganda crashed into the airport VIP lounge in Rwanda’s capital yesterday and killed one passenger, officials said.

Richard Masozera, director general of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters the pilot of 50-seat jet reported a problem two minutes into the flight from Kigali and asked to land again.

“He landed safely on the runway and was guided by the marshals into the parking area,” Masozera said.

“For some unexplained reason, the plane, from the parking spot, took off again at full power and … took a right turn, unexplained, into the technical building,” he said.

Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told Reuters the plane had hit the VIP lounge which is inside the technical building.

Masozera said emergency services responded within two minutes of the crash, but one passenger later died of their injuries.

Jack Elk, acting chief executive of Rwandair, said the airline’s best guess was that the plane “auto-accelerated”.

“The captain could not control it. The plane did not get airborne again, it taxied into the building,” Elk said, adding that the aircraft black boxes would be studied by experts.

“The captain was taken to the hospital with a broken leg. He has not been able to give us any information so far,” Elk said.
-Reuters

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