MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The exact number of casualties remains unknown since the jet crashed into a small farming community on an island in the White Nile river, claiming lives of those aboard and on the ground.
The crash killed at least 21 people in the village where the plane fell, according to the source.
"According to preliminary data, a citizen of the Russian Federation, a navigator, and five more crew members, preliminary, citizens of Armenia are among the 39 dead," the source told RIA Novosti.
Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer has confirmed to Sputnik that a Russian citizen and five Armenians died in the crash. He added that other victims of the crash were local people.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that according to preliminary data, one Russian national died in the cargo plane crash, adding that the Russian Embassy in Uganda is checking the information.
"On the morning of November 4 the cargo plane An-12, belonging to the Allied Services airlines, crashed straight after landing in the region of Juba, the capital of South Sudan. According to preliminary information, one Russian citizen (crew member) died. The Russian embassy in Kampala (Uganda) is verifying this information," the ministry said.
The SPLA spokesman said that three people aboard the plane survived. They were hospitalized.
"Three survivors, including a child, whose mother had thrown him out of the window [of the plane], and his [the child's] father, were found."
Later, South Sudan Transport Minister Hon Kuong Danhier Gatluak said that two survivors injured in the plane crash died; only the child remained alive.
"In the morning, when the catastrophe occured, there were three survivors, now only the child is alive," Hon Kuong Danhier Gatluak said as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Col. Philip Aguer added that the plane had arrived from Tajikistan.
South Sudan’s presidential spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny said earlier that the cargo plane had carried 18 people when it had crashed shortly after taking off in the nation’s capital Juba. He also said that the aircraft was owned by the Allied Service airline.
The transport minister of South Sudan said that rescuers had found bodies of 36 victims of the plane crash, including crew members. The search operation is set to continue, he added.
The plane was operated by the South Sudanese Allied Services Limited company under lease from Asia Airways. According to CEO Narzikul Hamraev, Asia Airways made an agreement to fly the plane under its code while carrying out orders for other airlines.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, Hamraev added. A special commission, including experts from all parties, has been created to investigate the crash, he said.
The An-12 cargo plane that crashed in South Sudan on Wednesday was not permitted to fly as it had not undergone maintenance, Antonov plane manufacturer’s press service said.
"According to the information of the Antonov State Company, An-12B…had no reason to carry out flights as it had not undergone the maintenance prescribed in the operational documentation," the company told RIA Novosti.
According to the company, the plane was assembled on February 26, 1971, in Uzbekistan’s Tashkent.