Anglican Bishop of Yirol, Simon Adut Yuang, was one of 20 people killed when a plane carrying them from the South Sudanese capital Juba crashed into a lake as it attempted to land at Yirol Airport. Reports say that thick fog around Yirol, in the centre of the country, may have played a part in the accident. Only three of the plane’s passengers—two children and an Italian doctor—survived.
Other victims include a member of the Red Cross in South Sudan.
“When it arrived the weather was so foggy and when it tried to land it crashed into Lake Yirol adjacent to Yirol town,” regional government minister Taban Abel Aguek was quoted by international news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse) as saying. “The whole town is in shock, the shops are closed, some people have taken their relatives for burial. It is a commercial plane that crashed.”
Local fishermen were first on the scene to rescue survivors and retrieve the bodies of those killed.
“Mama Joyce and I are saddened to hear of the plane crash in Yirol this morning, which has claimed the lives of a number of people, including the [Episcopal Church of South Sudan] Bishop of Yirol, Rt Revd Simon Adut Yuang,” the primate of South Sudan, Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, said.
“Bishop Simon was an energetic young man and is a loss to the Episcopal Church of South Sudan. Please join us in praying for the families and friends of all involved in the accident.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.’ ”
Adut Yuang had been bishop of Yirol for a relatively short time. He succeeded Bishop Daniel Deng Abeil, who died in January 2015 as a result of cancer. Adut Yuang was elected in May 2015 and consecrated the same year in July. He leaves behind a wife and six children.