Red Cross Plane Shot at Over Sudan; Pilot Killed

Two explosions Wednesday hit a Red Cross plane flying over southern Sudan, killing the Danish co-pilot, a spokesman said.

Michael Kleiner of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nairobi refused to say the plane came under fire, but did say the plane was struck twice by two unidentified objects that exploded on impact while flying over southern Sudan. Though it was clear the plane had been shot, Kleiner declined to comment further.

One explosion damaged the cockpit and killed the co-pilot, a 26-year-old Dane. The Red Cross was withholding the man's name until the family could be notified, Kleiner said. There were no other injuries, he said. The second explosion damaged the right wing, Kleiner added.

The plane was on a scheduled weekly flight from Lokichokio to Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and had been granted permission to make the flight. The plane landed at Lokichokio after the explosions.

The plane had an air pressure problem, dropped to 6,500 feet for one minute and then went back up to 8,500 feet, where there was an explosion heard by the pilot, Kleiner said.

"There were two impacts, one where the co-pilot was sitting and one under the fight wing," he said. "The co-pilot died instantly."

The Red Cross provides medical care to the victim's of Sudan's 18-year civil war and regularly evacuates war wounded from southern Sudan to a 560-bed field hospital in Lokichokio.