In the early afternoon of Monday January 8, an Air Africa Antonov-32 was preparing for a flight from Ndolo airport in Kinshasa to Kahemba, Zaire. The cargo plane, owned by Moscow Airways and operated by a Russian crew, was packed with supplies and a full tank of fuel. During the takeoff roll, the aircraft only reached roughly half the ideal takeoff speed, yet began to lift as it reached the end of the runway. A Ndolo airport employee who witnessed the takeoff said, “[The plane] did not even get its nose up. It was going as fast it could but didn't even manage to take off. When it put on its reverse engines it was too late.