ABIDJAN: French Gendarmes walk on the beach of Port-Bouet in Abidjan near the wreckage of a cargo plane that crashed off Ivory Coast, killing four yesterday. _ AFP

ABIDJAN: A cargo plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near the international airport in Abidjan, killing four crew members and injuring six others, an Ivory Coast official said yesterday. Ten people were aboard the plane that was approaching from the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso, Lt Issa Sakho, commander of the military fire brigade, said on national television. The dead were four Moldovans, he said, adding that two Moldovans and four French crew members were injured.


The cargo plane was carrying French military cargo, a French military official said. "We have six injured that we have evacuated to the Port-Bouet camp in Abidjan for treatment," the official said. He gave his name only as Lt Villain, citing French protocol.  Earlier reports indicated the plane had taken off from Abidjan. Ange Koutaye Ismael, a 19-year-old student, told The Associated Press he saw the four bodies carried out of the airplane, which had been broken in two in the shallow waters.


Ismael said he was at home yesterday morning when he noticed a plane flying low over his neighborhood. When he heard a plane had crashed on the beach, he ran down to film it. Stormy weather likely played a role in the crash, he said. "There was winds yesterday and I saw how planes seemed to have difficulties in getting up," he said. Chrisian Kouame, who also lives near the airport, said he was awakened before 7 am by a loud noise. "We thought at the beginning it was the waves of the sea in the rain, but the cries of our neighbors caught our attention," he said. "When we went out we saw the aircraft broken by the beach.


Airport authorities were alerted and rescue workers were immediately sent to help recover those wounded." Hundreds of onlookers gathered at the beach. Rescue workers carried away what appeared to be a corpse in a yellow bag. The tail and propellers of the plane were exposed. Air traffic at the airport in the West African nation appeared to continue after the crash, according to the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24. In February 2000, a Kenya Airways Airbus 310 carrying 179 people destined for Lagos, Nigeria crashed into the ocean after takeoff from Abidjan, leaving only 10 survivors. - AP