S. Sudan Plane Crash Survivor Tells of Ordeal, How He Saved Baby


The only adult survivor of a cargo plane crash in South Sudan has told how he protected a stranger’s baby as the aircraft descended into a bank of the River Nile.

Wuor Arop and the baby were the only people who survived the crash, who are both now recovering in hospital. Arop described to the Associated Press how he cradled the baby as passengers around him yelled that the aircraft was going down.


Only survivors

Arop was found unconscious at the scene with 13-month-old Nyalou Thong lying on his chest. The infant survived with a broken leg and a cut on her forehead, however her mother and sister perished in the crash, according to the child’s father.

Arop remains in hospital after breaking his limbs in six different places and sustaining a head injury in the crash. When asked by press about how the baby ended up on his chest, Arop explained how he cradled the baby as passengers around him screamed the plane was going down. He held the baby in his arms in an attempt to shield the infant from the impact of the crash.

“The baby I grabbed was near me,” he said. “Plus my friend who was near me, he stepped on me so I grabbed him,” he told the Associated Press.


Cargo plane overloaded

Arop also confirmed the cargo plane, which was not authorised to carry passengers, was overloaded by more than 30 people. At least 37 people lost their lives in the crash, including six crew members aboard the flight.

Mr Arop was among nine passengers who had a seat on the plane, while the others sat amongst the cargo. He said he paid 500 South Sudanese pounds (less than $30) to an unofficial dealmaker for a seat on the flight. The fee was sais to have been split between the broker and the pilot.

Shortly after take off passengers started screaming that the plane was going down, before it crashed into a bank of the Nile River.


Featured image:

Juba Airport under construction” by City ren2002 – On construction site. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.