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Mozambique Airlines plane crashes in Namibia, killing 34 (updated)

WINDHOEK, Nov 30 (Reuters) – A Mozambique Airlines plane en route to Angola crashed in a game park in northeast Namibia killing all 34 people on board, Namibian police said on Saturday.

Flight TM 470 left Maputo on Friday for the Angolan capital of Luanda with 28 passengers and six crew members on board when it lost contact with air traffic controllers, the airline said in a statement.

Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton told Reuters rescue workers had found burned-out wreckage of the aircraft in the dense bush of Bwabwata National Park, near the borders with Angola and Botswana.

“The plane has been completely burned to ashes and there are no survivors,” Bampton said.

Namibia’s aircraft investigation unit launched a helicopter search for the plane on Friday afternoon, but called it off because of heavy rains, an investigator said, adding the search had resumed this morning.

The remote, 6,100 sq km (2,300 sq mile) park is home to wildlife including elephants, lions and wild dogs.

Mozambican officials said the plane, an Embraer SA 190, went missing on Friday in bad weather and conditions of poor visibility.

Chinese news agency Xinhua said one Chinese national was on board, quoting the Chinese Embassy in Mozambique. Also among the passengers were 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, one French and one Brazilian, Xinhua said, citing the airline.

The flight left the Mozambican capital of Maputo at 1126 (0926 GMT) on Friday and had been due to arrive in Luanda at 1400.

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