Pictures of the aftermath showed the twisted wreckage of the fuselage spread across land where foundations of new buildings were being dug; the site is close to a residential district.
One witness, who was waiting at the airport to board another flight, said that the aircraft veered to the left immediately on take off, and its left wing scraped the ground.
“The whole plane blew up in a fireball as it lifted off,” he said.
UN-operated Miraya Radio reported thick smoke rising from the crash site about one kilometre from the airport, and said that the plane belonged to the private company Abebiel.
The aircraft appeared to have skidded across the main road running around the airport’s perimeter, ripping out an electricity pole and cutting electricity to the area.
|Sudan’s Air Record|
|June 30, 2008 – Cargo plane crashes on take-off in Khartoum. 4 killed.
June 27, 2008 – Cargo plane crashed near town of Malakal. 7 dead
Jun 10, 2008 – Pessanger plane bursts into flames and careers off the runway at Khartoum. At least 30 are killed.
May 2, 2008 – Plane crashes near southern town of Rumbek. 23 people die.
Nov 8, 2007 – Cargo plane crashes into three army tanks after crash-landing at Khartoum. Two soldiers killed.
July 8, 2003 – Sudan Airways Boeing 737 crashes after taking off from Port Sudan. 115 killed.
During rush hour the road would have been choked with traffic, but Monday was a public holiday.
“There was smoke at its tail. It crashed and then blew up 10 minutes later,” Youssef Yacoub, a security guard at a nearby building, said.
The fire took an hour to extinguish.
“Thank God it fell in empty area. The buildings around the airport were not damaged,” General Mohammed Najib al-Tayeb, Khartoum’s police chief, said.
On Friday, another cargo aeroplane crashed while flying from Khartoum to Juba, killing seven of the eight crew on board, including one Armenian and four Ukranians.
On June 10, a Sudan Airways airbus carry 214 people burst into flames after landing at Khartoum killing at least 30 people died.
Officials at the airport said that an engine caught fire, while surviving passengers said that the weather at the time was poor due to a sandstorm and heavy showers.
In May, southern Sudan’s defense minister and a presidential advisor were among 23 people killed in a plane crash in the south of the country.
Three years ago, the Sudanese government said it planned to build a new airport away from the city centre by 2010, but the project remains in the planning phase.
An initial announcement from the Civil Aviation Authority said that Sudan Airways aeroplanes would be grounded for not meeting international safety standards, but the airline was granted a one-month reprieve after appealing against the decision.
The airline says economic sanctions, imposed because the US claims Sudan is on blacklist of countries supporting terrorism, mean its fleet is old and they cannot buy spare parts.
Government officials in Washington say the sanctions do not prevent the delivery of spare parts for aircraft, if they are requested.