|“It is really at the moment the worst country on the planet – by a very big margin – for aviation safety”
David Learmount, aviation expert
“The toll from this accident is now 40 dead and 111 injured,” Julien Paluku, the governor of Nord-Kivu, said after visiting hospitals and clinics where the injured were taken for treatment.
Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from the scene of the crash, said that UN peacekeepers and the Red Cross are leading the process of recovering bodies from the wreckage as Goma has no emergency services of its own.
“Bear in mind that this is one of the poorest countries in Africa,” she said.
“That is why the UN mission based here in Goma, which has around 4,000 peacekeepers, has taken it upon themselves, in conjunction with the Red Cross, to try and do what they can for those involved in the crash.”
|UN peacekeepers are involved in the
rescue operation [AFP]
On Tuesday, Michele Cercone, an EU spokeswoman, said she had no information on Hewa Bora specifically but she said that all airlines based in DR Congo were banned from EU air space.
“That is because there is a general lack of effective control by the civil aviation authorities there to monitor and maintain minimum technical standards,” she said.
David Learmount, an aviation expert, told Al Jazeera that the country’s airline safety record was “appalling”.
“It is really at the moment the worst country on the planet – by a very big margin – for aviation safety,” he said.
He said that developing economies around the world generally had worse safety records while “serious accidents that kill people have been virtually ruled out” in more developed economies.
There were eight plane crashes in DR Congo last year, according to the Geneva-based Aircraft Crashes Record Office.
Aircraft are used extensively for transport in the country, which has few paved roads.
Dozens of airline companies are in operation, using mainly old planes.
The International Air Transport Association has included DR Congo in a group of several African countries it classed as an “embarrassment” to the industry.