Congo crash toll over 50 but survivor found
(Reuters) Congolese President Joseph Kabila sacked his transport minister on Friday as the death toll from the latest air accident in the central African country rose to more than 50.
But Democratic Republic of Congo's authorities announced that a Congolese mechanic aboard the Russian-made cargo plane that came down in Kinshasa on Thursday had survived the crash. Officials had previously said all the plane's occupants died.
Congo has one of the world's worst aviation safety records and Thursday's air disaster, in which an Antonov 26 plunged into a neighbourhood of the sprawling riverside capital, was the latest and most deadly of a series of recent accidents.
Transport Minister Remy Henri Kuseyo Gatanga was sacked "for being incapable of organising the aviation sector", presidential spokesman Kudura Kasongo said in Kinshasa.
The Humanitarian Affairs Ministry raised its provisional death toll from the accident to 51 from 38 and said this could rise further. At least 25 people were badly injured, apparently all on the ground when the plane crashed into the neighbourhood .
Ministry spokesman Saleh Kinyongo , revising an earlier figure given of 52 dead, said a Congolese mechanic aboard the Russian-piloted plane was found to have survived.
"We now know there is a survivor in hospital. He's the mechanic (of the plane)," he told Reuters.
Kinyongo named him as Dede Ngama and said he was recovering in Kinshasa's Roi Baudouin hospital. "He's alive and well. He's talking and he's even been on TV," he added.