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36 die as plane crashes in eastern Congo

GOMA, Congo — A plane crash in the eastern city of Goma killed 36 passengers Monday, Congolese officials said.

The Fokker 50, a two-engine plane operated by the airline CAA, was carrying 40 people and only four survived, said Naasson Kubuya, Goma’s mayor.

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The plane was flying from Lodja in East Kasai Province in the center of the country. The aircraft crashed in the center of Goma, near the building of the national electoral commission, but it did not hit any people on the ground, he said. The United Nations also has peacekeeping offices in the area.

‘‘The pilot managed to avoid houses,’’ said Kubuya. ‘‘It’s a horrifying accident. The city of Goma has become a field of disasters. We sympathize with the families of the deceased.’’

There was no immediate comment from CAA.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the worst air safety records in the world. Last year, a plane crash in the city of Bukavu killed President Joseph Kabila’s personal adviser, Augustin Katumba.

Many previous crashes have occurred in Goma, the main city in the east.

The runway at the city’s airport has not been fully repaired after a volcanic eruption in 2002 left it covered in lava.

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