Media reports say that at least 17 people have died after an Antonov-26 cargo plane belonging to South West Company crashed Saturday morning in Juba, South Sudan.  One person has escaped the wreckage and is in a critical condition.  It is reportedly unknown if all the victims were actually onboard the aircraft.

According to the Tajik MFA information department, two Tajik pilots – Parviz Qodirov and Mirsulton Mirahmadov – were killed in that air crash in South Sudan.

Mirsulton Mirahmadov had a Russian citizenship, representative of the Tajik MFA information department told Asia-Plus Tuesday morning.  

Xinhua says the cargo plane crashed into the Hai Referendum residential area at approximately 09:00, soon after takeoff from Juba airport.  At least 17 people were reportedly killed and one survived.  A passenger who survived the incident was rushed to hospital in critical condition.

"According to what I have witnessed, one person was rescued after screaming in pain and was immediately taken to the hospital. We have counted 15 people and two crew members, bringing the total to 17," Joseph Mayom, assistant professor at Upper Nile University told Xinhua by phone.  

Kur Kuol, director of Juba International Airport, confirmed the 9.00 am plane crash, noting that the plane was en route to Aweil and Wau.

According to the cargo manifest, the aircraft, registered YI-AZR, was carrying motorbikes, spare parts, food items and NGO staff salaries.

"There are no more details I can give you right now but what I know is that it was a cargo plane carrying motorbikes, spare parts, food items, and NGOs staff salaries but there were no more people onboard," Kuol told Xinhua.

He said the aviation authorities will investigate the cause of the accident.

Kuol said the airport authorities don't have the exact number of people who have died nor the survivors, adding that they will be able to provide details once the officials establish clear information.

In 2018, a plane belonging to South West Company crashed in eastern Lakes Regions in South Sudan, killing 17 people on board.

Following the incident, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in April 2019 banned planes spanning 20 years of service from transporting people, limiting them to cargo in a bid to curtail air accidents.