A cargo plane has crashed near the city of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, killing four and injuring six. Moldovans and French nationals were on board.
A cargo plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near Abidjan in Ivory Coast on Saturday, after failing to land safely at the city's international airport. It was en route from neighboring Burkina Faso.
Sidiki Diakite, Ivory Coast's security minister, told reporters: "What we can say is that this morning around 8:30 (10:30 CET), an Anatov plane crashed ... with 10 on board including crew members."
Witnesses said the crash occurred during a storm with heavy rain and lightning. Four Moldovan citizens were killed in the crash, and two additional Moldovans and four French citizens were injured.
"The aircraft failed to land and crashed into the water," said Commissioner Charlemagne Bleu of the Ivorian police, adding that firefighters and security forces were on the scene. Throngs of people from the heavily populated Port Bouet area near the crash flocked to the scene, with some assisting authorities in freeing bodies from the wreckage.
French and Ivorian forces on the scene
France's ambassador to Ivory Coast quickly arrived at the scene as well, accompanied by gendarmes and soldiers.
The scene was later cordoned off by Ivorian security forces, as French and Ivorian naval vessels patrolled the area. One French military spokesman told reporters, "We have six injured that we have evacuated to the Port Bouet camp in Abidjan for treatment."
The plane was carrying materiel for the French army, according to officials on site. French army spokesman Col. Patrick Steiger said: "This was a plane chartered by the French army in the framework of the Barkhane force in order to carry out logistical missions." France maintains a logistics base near the airport to support Operation Barkhane, tasked with fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa.
The plane's wreckage was scattered in the shallow waters off of Abidjan, the country's major urban center on the southern Atlantic coast of Ivory Coast.
Air traffic at the airport in the West African nation appeared to continue after the crash.
In February 2000, a Kenya Airways Airbus 310 carrying 179 people destined for Lagos, Nigeria crashed into the ocean after takeoff from Abidjan, leaving only 10 survivors.
js, fm/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)