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Air Accidents More Likely in Africa


An investigator (back) works near the wreckage of a military plane which crashed near the village of Ouled Gacem in eastern Algeria, about 500km (311 miles) from the capital Algiers on February 12, 2014. The military transport plane carrying members of the Algerian armed forces and their relatives crashed into a mountain, killing 77 people, the worst air disaster in the North African country in a decade. (REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)

An investigator (back) works near the wreckage of a military plane which crashed near the village of Ouled Gacem in eastern Algeria, about 500km (311 miles) from the capital Algiers on February 12, 2014. The military transport plane carrying members of the Algerian armed forces and their relatives crashed into a mountain, killing 77 people, the worst air disaster in the North African country in a decade. (REUTERS/Louafi Larbi)

Africa has about 5 percent of global air traffic but 20 percent of accidents and deaths in 2014.

Siddi Kone is an air navigation safety expert. He says many small airline companies that operate south of the Sahara Desert fail to follow international air navigation rules. He says they sometimes do not know where their planes are located.

He says air traffic coordination and communication must improve. He says planes cannot travel on the same routes as they fly over the continent.

Osei Bonsu is an expert on aviation in Africa. He says countries must work together to locate plane crashes and rescue survivors. He says training is needed to manage air traffic as flights in and out of Africa increase.

Air traffic controllers in Africa say they do not have enough workers, and they lack good communication equipment. Air traffic safety experts who gathered in Cameroon this week said some air traffic controllers use mobile phones to communicate with pilots.

Some of their other concerns include the loss of power at airports and animals on runways.

Air traffic safety and security experts say they need more investment and training to improve the safety of air travel in Africa.

I’m Christopher Jones-Cruise.

Do you fly in and out of Africa? How was your experience? Please tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Correspondent Moki Edwin Kindzeka reported this story from New Delhi. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

coordinate – adj. to make arrangements so that two or more people or groups of people can work together properly and well

navigation – n. the act, activity or process of finding the way to get to a place when you are traveling in a ship, airplane or car; the act of piloting a plane or ship

runway – n. a long strip of ground where airplanes take off and land

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