At least 40 survivors have been pulled from a crashed airplane that killed at least 53 people at Kisangani International Airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Friday.
"Fifty-three dead, that is the last figure I have,'' Stavros Papaioannou, chief executive of the Congolese Hewa Bora airline, told Reuters by telephone, while cautioning that the toll was likely to be revised.
The plane was carrying 112 people when it tried to land in bad weather.
Only 40 survivors were pulled from the wreckage of the Boeing 727, according to a government spokesman.
'The pilot tried to land but apparently they didn't touch the runway,' Stavros Papaioannou, Congolese airline Hewa Bora chief executive, told Reuters.
"The crash happened about 200 metres from Kisangani airport during landing in heavy rain. We have already removed 40 survivors," government spokesman Lambert Mendetold Reuters before adding that "The rescue operations are continuing."
Hewa Bora is on a European Union list of airlines banned due to security concerns, as are all carriers certified in the central African country.
DR Congo has one of the worst air transport security records in the world.
Congo Plane Crash: 40 survivors out of 112 passengers