Eleven Dead in Cameroon Forest Plane Crash, Reports State Media

Nine passengers and two crew died after a plane chartered by a company maintaining a major trans-border oil pipeline crashed in a forest in central Cameroon, state radio said Thursday.

The plane, which crashed on Wednesday, had been carrying workers of the Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (COTCO), which oversees the upkeep of a hydrocarbon pipeline running to neighboring Chad.

“All perished in the disaster”, the radio presenter said.

A transport ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: “There were no survivors.”

The plane, whose type and make were not made public, was flying from Yaounde-Nsimalen airport to Belabo in the east of the country, the transport ministry has said.

It was found in a forest near Nanga Eboko, some 150 km (90 miles) northeast of Yaounde, it said.

“The chances of finding survivors are very slim,” a COTCO official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

COTCO says the $3.7-billion undertaking, comprising some 300 oil wells that have been drilled in southwestern Chad, is among the largest development projects in Africa.

The oil extracted from Chad is subsequently transported via a 640-mile (1,030-kilometre) underground pipeline through Cameroon to an offshore export loading facility off the latter’s coast, according to the company, whose stakeholders include US firms ExxonMobil and Chevron, as well as Cameroon and Chad.

The last plane crash in Cameroon occurred in May 2007 when a Kenyan Airlines Boeing flying between the Cameroonian and Ivorian business hubs of Douala and Abidjan plunged into the sea shortly after take-off, killing 114 people.

Pilot error was blamed for that crash.

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