Somalia: Ethiopian Plane Crashes at Mogadishu Airport, Four Reported Dead (+Photos)

August 9, 2013 Updated: August 12, 2013

A plane crashed and caught fire at the international airport in Mogadishu, the capital of Somali, on Friday.

The plane crashed as it was landing near the beginning of the runway, said Capt. Ali Hussein, a police officer at the airport.

The African Union Mission to Somalia, a peacekeeping mission, confirmed that the crash involved an Ethiopian Air Force aircraft, “which unfortunately burst into flames immediately on crashing,” the mission tweeted

“The Force Commander expresses his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Ethiopia following the loss of crew members,” the mission said. “He wishes those who were injured and are now undergoing medical attention quick recovery.”

The crash happened shortly before 8 a.m. local time.

Eyewitnesses tweeted photos immediately after the crash.

“One airplane fell nearby the African Union Compound while it was landing,” tweeted one eyewitness, Mücahit Salih Duran, head of the Turkish Red Crescent delegation in Somalia, just after the plane crashed. “Still burning.”

Four people died in the crash. Two crew members were rescued by emergency personnel and are being treated in the African Union military hospital near the base, said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, an African Union representative to Somalia.

The weapons carried on the plane most likely would have been destined for African Union or Somali troops, who continue to battle al-Qaida-linked militants from al-Shabab. The militants have shot at planes in the past but not in recent years.

Air traffic has increased significantly at the airport as Mogadishu continues on a slow recovery from decades of warfare. Two major international carriers — Turkish Airlines and Air Uganda — operate direct flights into Mogadishu.

The Mogadishu International Airport is also known as the Aden Adde International Airport.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.