At least 17 people died in South Sudan on Sunday when a small aircraft carrying passengers from Juba International Airport to the city of Yirol crashed, State information Minister Taban Abel told Reuters.

“The plane crashed and killed 17 people and we have three survivors,” Abel told Reuters by phone from Yirol. The plane carried a total of 22 people and two were still missing.

One of the survivors, an Italian doctor working with an NGO, is in critical condition and undergoing surgery in Yirol Hospital, the minister said.

The plane crashed by a river and an eye witness had earlier said bodies were recovered from the water.

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