British Survivor of Plane Crash Dies
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) _ A Briton injured in the crash of a Brazilian jetliner has died, a medical official said today, leaving just one survivor from the accident and bringing the death toll to 50.
Ahmad Wansa, 37, died upon arriving in Paris at 5 a.m. today aboard a Swiss military plane, said Dr. Alain Bondurand, the head of the Ivory Coast medical team that was treating him.
Wansa was being transfered to a special burn unit at Percy Army Hospital in a Paris suburb.
The Varig airlines Boeing 707 crashed Saturday into a heavy forest outside Abidjan. Passengers and an airline source said Monday that the plane had mechanical and other problems on its next-to-last flight, but the airline said the plane was in good condition.
Bondurand said Wansa was conscious and doing relatively well upon departure Monday night from Abidjan, but that the trip apparently was too much strain for him.
The crash’s sole remaining survivor, an Ivory Coast citizen, is doing well with burns on less than 20 percent of his body, Bondurand said.
The plane’s flight recorders were to be examined today, airline officials said. Officials of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Ivory Coast on Monday night to assist Varig in the investigation.
An airline source who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press on Monday that a mechanic for another airline made repairs on theplane shortly before it took off on a return flight to Rio de Janeiro. But the source said she was not certain of the nature of the repairs.
Antonio Jose Schittini Pinto, the company official leading Varig’s investigation, said he did not know of significant problems with the aircraft. He said in a telephone interview that it was examined before takeoff and would not have been permitted to leave if anything serious had been found.
The pilot told the Abidjan control tower soon after taking off early Saturday that he had engine problems. He reported later that one engine was afire and he was trying to dump fuel before returning to the airport.
A Varig spokesman in Rio, Marcelo Correia Lima, said the plane was believed to have been in ″perfect condition″ and the flight time of 15,698 hours since its last overhaul two years ago was well within Boeing’s recommended limit of 18,000.
John Diffenderfer, an American businessman based in Abidjan who arrived Friday on the Varig jet, said its departure from Rio was delayed more than an hour because of problems that were not specified.
He also said personnel of Air Afrique told him the plane had problems landing in Abidjan. Air Afrique handles most operations at Abidjan airport.
One of those killed in the crash was an American, Stanley Cleveland, identified by Abidjan business sources as the head of a privately owned steel company named Societe Togolaise de Siderurgie in nearby Togo.