Sudan air crash death toll still unknown
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More than half of the 214 people on board were able to escape, but authorities said it was still unclear how many died in the inferno.
State television initially said about 100 were killed, but officials later put the toll at dozens without being more precise. Deputy parliament speaker Mohammed al-Hassan al-Ameen said "about 30 people" died, while police spokesman Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdel Majid al-Tayeb said 23 bodies were brought to the morgue.
The Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that 103 passengers and all 11 crew members survived. In addition, it said some other passengers may have left the scene after the crash, making an exact count difficult. Officials said most aboard the Sudan Airways jetliner were Sudanese.
The aviation authority has asked its counterpart in Amman, Jordan, for the passenger manifest to determine who was actually on board, as the original was destroyed in the crash, SUNA reported. The flight originated in Damascus, Syria, then stopped in Amman.
Al-Tayeb told the official SUNA news agency Wednesday morning that the fire had been completely extinguished and civil defense officials were examining the wreckage to figure out what caused the crash, which occurred late Tuesday.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the plane appeared to have left the runway after landing at Khartoum International Airport, and several loud explosions resounded as fire raced through the aircraft.
The roaring blaze dwarfed the Airbus A310's shattered fuselage as firefighters sprayed water, Sudanese TV footage showed. Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene, and media were kept away.
A survivor speaking at the airport to Sudanese TV said the landing was "rough," and there was a sharp impact several minutes later. Watch as flames engulf the wreckage »
"The right wing was on fire," said the passenger, who did not give his name. He said smoke got into the cockpit and some people started opening the emergency exits. Soon, fire engulfed the plane, he said.
"As we landed, the engine burst into flame -- I was sitting right next to it," passenger Kamal Eddin Mohammed told the pan-Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera. "It was horror inside the plane."
Reports differed on the role the weather may have played in the crash.
A sandstorm had hit the area with 20 mph winds between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and there was a thunderstorm and similar winds at the time of the crash around 9 p.m. local time, said Elaine Yang, a meteorologist with the San Francisco-based Weather Underground, a private weather service.
The head of Sudanese police, Mohammad Najib, said bad weather "caused the plane to crash land, split into two and catch fire."