4 in Crew of Plane That Hit Market Arrested in Zaire

Times Wire Services

Police on Wednesday announced the detention of the four Russian crew members of a plane that slammed into a crowded market here this week, while Zairians began burying the hundreds of victims.

Although the Zairian Justice Ministry has issued an official figure of 264 fatalities, a surgeon at Mama Yemo hospital said at least 600 people had been confirmed dead.

Meanwhile, the Paris-based aid group Doctors Without Borders said in a statement that the Russian-built Antonov 32 killed at least 350 people and injured 470 when it careered Monday for about 100 yards through the market. The toll, if confirmed, would make the crash the world's third-worst civilian air disaster.

State-run radio reported that the four crew members who survived the midday crash were under detention pending the outcome of an investigation to determine if they should face criminal charges.

In addition, the Justice Ministry said it had found the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder and that they would be sent to Europe for examination.

President Mobutu Sese Seko, who rarely visits Kinshasa, the capital, spoke at a memorial Mass for the victims Wednesday.

After the service, a scuffle broke out when opposition supporters demanded that Mobutu remain in the city to deal with the nation's numerous problems instead of returning to his isolated palace north of Kinshasa.

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