DR Congo

DR Congo: Response team reaches site

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Warrenton, Va.- September 4, 2008 - Air Serv International and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) are coordinating efforts to recover the passengers on board the aircraft which went down in the DRC on Monday. A team comprised of personnel from Air Serv International, MONUC, DRC Civil Aviation (CAA), and South African Special Rescue Teams reached the accident site early this morning.

The Beechcraft 1900C, operated by CemAir, was en route from Kisangani to Bukavu on Monday afternoon, September 1. The aircraft was found early Tuesday morning on a steep ridge nine miles northwest of Bukavu.

After several unsuccessful attempts to reach the remote site by air, the search teams set out on foot and were able to clear a landing site, where MONUC peacekeeping troops landed MI-8 helicopters. The response teams confirmed that all 17 casualties have been accounted for.

Air Serv's Home Office and DRC staff are working continuously, along with the United Nations, Congolese authorities and South African officials, in this difficult recovery mission. The staff of Air Serv International express their condolences and deepest sympathy to the families of the passengers and crew. We also wish to thank the local and regional authorities who are assisting with the recovery.

The South African CAA will be assisting in the investigation into the crash and both the Congolese CAA and South African CAA have full support and cooperation from Air Serv and CemAir.

Air Serv International, a not-for-profit aviation organization that supports humanitarian programs worldwide, was launched in 1984 in response to one of Africa's worst crises, the Ethiopian famine. Air Serv continues to play a crucial role in worldwide humanitarian emergency relief and development efforts.

Air Serv's safety record is among the best in the aviation industry, with no previous flight-related fatalities in the 24-year history of the organization. Based in Warrenton, Va., USA, Air Serv was a pioneer in the African aviation industry, and has been flying in the DRC since 1999.

Updated information on the recovery will be provided as it is available from our team onsite in Bukavu.