A cargo plane attempting to take off from Ghana’s capital, Accra, crashed Saturday night, slamming into a bus loaded with passengers on a nearby street, witnesses said.

A spokesman for Ghana’s fire service says at least 10 people died. Bill Anaglate said the number of dead could rise in the crash in Accra. Anaglate said all the dead were in cars that the plane crushed when it failed to take off from Kotoka International Airport on Saturday night.

The crash happened during the evening in Accra near the Kotoka International Airport, which sits near newly built high-rise buildings, hotels and the country’s Defence Ministry. Witnesses said the plane first smashed through the fence that runs around the airport before hitting the bus.

An official at the airport’s control tower declined to comment when reached Saturday night, saying no one was available to discuss the crash. Police officials also refused to immediately comment.

Police and soldiers quickly cordoned off the neighbourhood where the plane crashed. The area is near to El-Wak Sports Stadium and Hajj Village, where Muslims in the country stay before they journey to Mecca.

Local television showed images of the plane lying across a road with its tail damaged as the flight crew jumped off and received help from emergency responders.

Witnesses said the plane was labelled as belonging to Allied Cargo. A telephone number for the company could not be immediately found.

Ghana, a nation of more than 25 million in West Africa, has not had a major airplane crash in recent years. The last air emergency the country had was in June 2006, when a TAAG Linhas Aereas De Angola flight to Sao Tome hit birds during take-off. The plane landed safely and none of the 28 people on board were injured.


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