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U.N. Official: 10 Dead in Congo Plane Crash

A Russian-made airplane crashed Thursday in central Congo (search), killing 10 of the 11 passengers aboard, a U.N. official said.

The Antonov-26 (search) went down 17 miles north of Kisangani, said Mouhamoud Hashi, an official with the U.N.'s humanitarian-aid coordination bureau in Congo.

"According to the information we have received, one passenger survived but 10 others who were aboard are dead," Hashi said by telephone from Kisangani.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

U.N. radio reported that the plane left from the town of Isiro (search), a few hundred miles northeast of Kisangani, a main city on a bend in the Congo River. The plane was carrying five crew and six passengers. Their nationalities were not immediately available.

The aircraft was owned by a Congolese company, Kisangani Airlift, which leased the plane to a firm called Euroworld, according to Radio Okapi.

Many rickety aircraft, often castoffs from old Soviet bloc nations, ply the skies of Congo, a vast central African nation the size of Western Europe.

Few passable roads traverse Congo after decades of war and corrupt rule, forcing the country's deeply impoverished people to rely on often-unsafe boats and planes to move around their country.

In December 2003, an Antonov-26 plowed into a crowded market at the end of a runway in a northeastern town, killing 33 in the plane and on the ground.