Source AP ©

Death toll rises to 22 in helicopter crash

Twenty-two people were killed when a helicopter taking a group of Togolese soccer fans exploded into flames near the Sierra Leone airport.

The government of Togo has sent a six-person delegation to help with the investigation into Monday's crash, after a majority of the dead were identified as Togolese soccer fans who had come to cheer their team's 1-0 victory over Sierra Leone at an African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Sunday.

The charred remains have been transported to the state mortuary, where autopsies will be conducted once a pathologist from Togo's government arrives, said Sierra Leone's State Pathologist Owiss Kamara.

News of the accident sent the tiny West African country of Togo into mourning. Togolese radio stations broadcast solemn funeral songs every 30 minutes, and President Faure Gnassingbe called for flags to fly at half-mast.

But the grief was mixed with anger, and many Togolese called for an investigation into the crash after a Togolese soccer official in Lome reported receiving an SMS message from one of the crash victims saying he and other fans had been threatened in Freetown.

Winnie Dogbatse, president of a Togo soccer club, told a Lome radio station that the text message sent before the man boarded the helicopter described Sierra Leoneans, angry at having lost the game, allegedly made death threats against the Togolese soccer fans.

Helicopters and a sea ferry are the only ways to get to the airport, located across a bay from the capital, Freetown, which is on the Atlantic Ocean.

In 2001, a U.N. helicopter traveling from U.N. headquarters in Sierra Leone to the airport crashed into the bay, killing all seven aboard. The U.N. said at the time a mechanical problem appeared to have been the cause.

Comments
The end of the theory of a Nobel Prize in chemistry?
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Turkey and USA take their relationship to breaking point
Iran shows new ICBM that can evade radars
USA and Turkey: The elephant kicks the barking pug aside
Venezuela: Once again, interference from the USA in Latin America
Venezuelan President Maduro: USA fatally obsessed with Russia
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russia's long-range Bastion system follows USS Carney in Black Sea waters
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Russian government prepares to get rid of US dollar in economy
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
Turkey desperately tries to rescue its national currency as it falls to all-time lows
US sanctions to kill Russian banks and sovereign debt?
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia builds new robotic tank invulnerable to mines
Russia starts Star Wars first. USA concerned and puzzled