Congo plane crash in residential area kills 29 people

Phuong D. Nguyen

A Dornier 228-200 operated by Busy Bee Congo crashed shortly after takeoff from Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 29 people.

The twin-turboprop aircraft, registered 9S-GNH, was performing a flight from Goma International Airport (GM) to Beni (BNC), with 17 passengers and 3 crew members on board. The small plane failed to climb after takeoff and crashed into a house at the end of the runway. Goma airport is surrounded by a dense residential area.

The United Nations Operation in Congo (MONUSCO) sent two firetrucks to assist the Congolese emergency services, as the aircraft caught fire. All occupants died in the crash. At least ten people on the ground were also killed reports local media, setting the preliminary death toll at 29 victims in total. On November 25, 2019, the Ministry of Transport revised the death toll down, to seven people killed on the ground, with one person still hospitalized and in critical condition. The Deputy Transport Minister Jacques Yuma Kipuya announced that an investigation was opened.

The Dornier Do 228 is a twin-turboprop aircraft designed by the German manufacturer Dornier-Werke. After the planemaker disappeared in 2004, production of the model was picked up by the Swiss company RUAG, which introduced the Do 228NG (Next Generation) in 2007.

Busy Bee Congo, which defined itself as “the specialist of deep Congo”, operates mainly between Goma and the northern province of Beni and Butembo, with a fleet of one Dornier 228-100 and two 228-200 – including the one lost in the crash.

Due to a lack of safety oversight, all air carriers certified by the authorities of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the national carrier Congo Airways, are banned from operating within the European Union by the European Aviation Safety Agency. 

On October 10, 2019, an Antonov An-72 cargo plane operated by the Congolese Air Force crashed near Punia in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing eight people. The aircraft was transporting logistical support for the president Félix Tshisekedi.

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