At least seven local government officials have been killed in a helicopter crash in Sudan’s eastern Gadarif state.
The state’s governor and three security officials were among the dead, the country’s official news agency, SUNA, reported on Sunday.
Governor Mirghani Salih was travelling from the city of Gadarif heading to Gallabat, Ashorooq TV reported. Both cities are in Gadarif.
A number of people were also injured in the incident, SUNA said. The officials were carrying out a security tour of the province.
Witnesses said the helicopter caught fire after hitting a communications tower as it tried to land in a field in Gadarif, which known for its farmland and agricultural projects.
“Flames and thick dark smoke rose from the aircraft,” one of the witnesses, Adam Hassan, told AFP news agency.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash. State TV earlier reported that a plane, not a helicopter, had crashed.
Most of Sudan’s military and civilian fleet consists of old Soviet-made aircraft, and the country has suffered a series of crashes in recent years, with the military frequently blaming technical problems and bad weather.
In October, eight people were injured in a collision between two Sudanese army planes on the runway at Khartoum airport.
Weeks earlier in September, two pilots were killed when their military jet crashed near Omdurman, Khartoum’s twin city on the west bank of the Nile.
That accident came days after a military helicopter crashed and caught fire on landing in Darfur, though all passengers were rescued.