A rescue team today identified aircraft wreckage high up in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains as the remains of a WFP-chartered light plane missing for a week and found three bodies at the crash site, WFP and a South Africa-based operator said.
The bodies are being brought down from the mountain by the rescue team, which is led by the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority, according to WFP and King Air Services.
The bodies are believed to be those of the three people who were aboard the single-engine Cessna Caravan – its South African captain and his wife, also a South African, and the co-pilot, a dual national of France and Canada.
“Our deepest condolences go to the families of the dead and King Air Services for this terrible loss,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris.
“We mourn those who perished flying relief supplies for people driven from their homes by conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Their families are in our prayers.”
The Caravan lost radio contact on April 28 during a flight in the eastern DR Congo from the city of Goma to Bunia.
Rescuers aboard a UN search helicopter on April 30 sighted wreckage on the Ugandan side of the mountainous border but were unable to land near the crash site, which is at 3,600 metres altitude.
The team took three days to reach the crash site on foot because of bad weather and the very difficult terrain. Local guides and park rangers accompanied the team on the gruelling trip into the mountains.
At the request of the Ugandan Civil Aviation Authority, WFP and the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) are providing logistical support for the team. An investigation is being set up to determine the cause of the crash.