At Least 29 Killed When Plane Explodes Upon Landing at Sudan Airport

At least 29 people were killed but nearly 200 survived when a commercial plane skidded off the runway and exploded after landing at an airport in Khartoum, according to the spokesman of Sudan's Civil Aviation Authority.

Abdel Hafez Abdel Rahim Mahmoud said 14 of those who were on the flight Tuesday were still unaccounted for, but 171 made it out alive.

The Sudan Airways jet, which was en route from Jordan, was landing in stormy weather when it veered off a runway, split in two and burst into flames at the Khartoum Airport in the capital city, according to Sudanese officials and local media.

The majority of the 214 people on board were able to escape, but authorities say it is still unclear how many died in the inferno.

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The head of Sudanese police, Mohammad Najib, said that bad weather had caused the crash, but Youssef Ibrahim, director of the Khartoum Airport, said a technical problem was to blame.

An investigation was under way Wednesday. It was expected to take some time before a definitive cause of the crash was known.

The flight, which originated in Damascus, Syria, and was coming from Amman, Jordan, was landing in heavy rain and thunderstorms. The plane already had tried to touch down at the Khartoum Airport once, but wasn't able to due to the weather.

"We believe that most of the passengers were able to make it out and escape with their lives," said Najib, without disclosing further details on how they escaped.

He stressed that officials could not yet say exactly how many were killed.

Earlier reports put the death toll at 100, which would have made it the deadliest crash since July 2007, when a Tam Linhas Aereas SA jetliner Airbus 320 skidded off the runway while landing in Sao Paulo, Brazil. All 187 people on board as well as 12 on the ground were killed.

Sudan has a poor aviation safety record. In May, a plane crash in a remote area of southern Sudan killed 24 people, including key members of the southern Sudanese government.

In July 2003, a Sudan Airways Boeing 737 en route from Port Sudan to Khartoum crashed soon after takeoff, killing all 115 people on board.

After that accident, Sudanese officials blamed sanctions for restricting vital aircraft parts. The U.S. State Department said there was no ban on equipment needed for aviation safety.

In 1997, then President Clinton issued an executive order barring the export of goods and technology to Sudan because of the country's "support for international terrorism, ongoing efforts to destabilize neighboring governments, and the prevalence of human rights violations."

FOX News' Catherine Donaldson-Evans and The Associated Press contributed to this report.