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A cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid crashed in Somalia

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

BELEDWEYNE, Somalia - A cargo plane carrying humanitarian supplies meant for flood victims in central Somalia crashed on Tuesday near Beledweyne, but all the crew members managed to survive the ordeal, but the aircraft was badly dismembered due to a huge impact that resulted from the crash.

The plane belongs to a regional operator based in Nairobi and it seemed to have been leased to AU. The crash happened near Ugaas Khalif airstrip in Beledweyne, not far from where the plans were supposed to land, footage taken from the site indicated.

Details obtained by Garowe Online show that the de Havilland Canada DHC-8-400 turboprop plane is operated by the Bluebird Aviation company which is domiciled in Nairobi. Three occupants were evacuated after the incident, officials said.

Those evacuated were two pilots and a ground engineer. Footage taken from the site showed residents with buckets of water trying to extinguish the huge fire but their efforts could not salvage anything, although it's through them that the occupants managed to survive.

A huge smoke was sighted billowing from the crash site and a few Djiboutian military officers who man the area were also captured on camera assessing the damage. It was not immediately clear what kind of supplies the crew was delivering to an AMISOM base within Beledweyne.

Authorities are yet to establish the cause of the crash but as per Somalia's flight regulations, the survivors will meet the aviation team and record statements. The aviation team is then expected to investigate the incident before making the report public.

According to Somalia's director of civil aviation Ahmed Moalim Hassan, the aircraft bears registration number 5Y-VVU and had been chartered by the US department of defense in support of AU mission troops working within central Somalia.

The aviation boss also revealed that the plane was carrying foodstuff but no further details were given. He said that authorities have since closed down the airstrip to allow a team from Mogadishu to carry out proper investigations.

Coming from decades of civil war, terrorism, and instability, Somalia's dilapidated infrastructure makes it hard for commuters to use roads. Instead, people prefer air transport since it is considered the fastest and safest within a difficult environment.

This is the third aviation incident within the last two months. The first incident involved a Kenyan humanitarian aid aircraft which was shot down in Bardale, southern Somalia, and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces took responsibility for the incident, arguing that they had mistaken it for Al-Shabaab.

Later, another Kenyan aircraft was attacked almost near the region and Al-Shabaab took responsibility. The country opened its skies recently after months of temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has continued to wreak havoc within the country and across the globe.

The US is one of the major financiers of the military forces within Somalia and has traditionally trained the Somali National Army [SNA]. Al-Shabaab militants have been degraded considerably but can still wage small to large scale sporadic attacks within the country.