A Sudanese man and 13-month-old baby are the lone survivors of a tragic plane crash on November 4 in Juba, South Sudan. The two were among nearly 40 people aboard a cargo craft that was unauthorized to transport passengers. Wuor Arop obtained a ticket for the equivalent of less than 30 dollars, according to the Associated Press. He was traveling back to his job after a visit with family in the city of Juba, the capital of South Sudan.
Arop told the AP that when passengers began yelling that the plane was going to crash, he grabbed the baby: “The baby I grabbed, (she) was near me. Plus my friend who was near me, he stepped on me so I grabbed him.”
Arop emerged as the only adult survivor of the crash, and the baby he cradled through the ordeal also survived. She endured a broken leg and a cut on her forehead. Arop was hospitalized as of the November 7 report. He sustained significant injuries, including a head injury and several broken bones.
The wreckage of the crash was horrific, rendering Arop’s and the baby’s survival seemingly miraculous. The Guardian reports:
The main fuselage of the plane ploughed into thick woodland, scattering debris around the riverbank in a wide area.
Radio Miraya, a UN-backed station, said the plane had been heading to the northern Upper Nile state, and crashed 800 metres from the runway at Juba international airport.
Police at the site said they did not know how many people had been on board the plane, nor whether people on the ground may have been hit. Cargo planes flying to remote parts of South Sudan often carry passengers as well as goods. The island is home to several small farming communities.