Plane crashes into busy DR Congo city, killing 23 – Image by AFP

“Images from the scene showed plumes of black smoke and flames apparently from the burning plane as locals looked on.

“Rescue workers were also seen combing through the plane’s burned-out fuselage.

“Goma airport official Richard Mangolopa told AFP no survivors were expected from the disaster,” the report said.

“The Dornier-228 aircraft had been headed for the city of Beni, 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Goma when it went down in a residential area near the airport in the east of the country.”

A Busy Bee airline staff member said: “There were 17 passengers on board and two crew members. It took off around 9-9.10 am (0700 GMT).”

One of the company’s maintenance workers at the site quoted by news site blamed a “technical problem”.

“The precise number of casualties on the plane and on the ground was not yet known.”

According to the report: “The UN mission deployed in DR Congo, MONUSCO, sent two fire engines to support local rescue services.

The UN mission deployed in Congo, Monusco, sent two fire engines to support local rescue services – Image by AFP

“Aircraft accidents are common in the vast, conflict-wracked central African country, in particular involving Antanov planes.

“Last month an Antonov 72 cargo plane that was providing logistical assistance for a trip by DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and carrying eight crew and passengers went missing after taking off from Goma,” the report added.

“In September 2017, an Antonov cargo plane chartered by the army crashed near the capital Kinshasa, killing all 12 people on board.

“The country’s deadliest Antonov disaster was in January 1996 when an overloaded plane overshot the runway in Kinshasa and crashed into a popular market, killing hundreds on the ground.

“Goma is the capital of North Kivu province. Beni, the plane’s destination has been at the epicentre of an Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people in the last year.”