View Full Version : Cargo aircraft down in Central African Republic

4th Jul 2002, 12:35
From the BBC...A Sudan airways plane has crashed into a heavily-populated suburb of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.
Around 20 people have been killed, according to eye-witnesses, quoted by Reuters news agency.

Aviation sources said that the plane was heading for Brazzaville, the capital of neighbouring Congo.

They said the plane developed technical problems and crashed as it attempted an emergency landing at Bangui airport.

"We saw around 20 bodies in the wreckage of the plane. There was one survivor who was wounded and was carried away," said one witness.

It is not clear how many people were on board the plane.

Witnesses said the plane crashed near a busy market.

Hospital workers in Bangui are currently on strike and 15 people died before the crash after being unable to get medical help.

It is not clear whether they will continue with their strike in the wake of the plane crash. From Reuters...
Plane Crash in Central African Republic Kills 20

July 04, 2002 08:30 AM ET

BANGUI (Reuters) - A Sudan Airways cargo plane crashed into a residential district of the Central African Republic capital of Bangui on Thursday and around 20 people were killed, witnesses said.

"We saw around 20 bodies in the wreckage of the plane. There was one survivor who was wounded and was carried away," said one witness.

He said he saw the markings of Sudan Airways on parts of the wreckage.

The plane crashed short of the main airport of Bangui, hitting a heavily-populated market district.

A source at regional air authority Asecna (Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa) said the plane had been bound for Congo Republic's capital Brazzaville, but had tried to land at Bangui due to technical problems.

4th Jul 2002, 13:57
News Report BBC World (http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/africa/newsid_2093000/2093670.stm)

News Report CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/africa/07/04/central.crash/index.html)

I. M. Esperto
4th Jul 2002, 15:56

Sounds pretty grim.

4th Jul 2002, 23:20
More from the "no significant loss of life" department...

According to this account from CNN, there were twenty people onboard this "cargo" plane who perished. Wonder if this was correct or if it was a misunderstanding like the apocryphal story of the Irish Cessna crash in the graveyard.

"Residents rushed to the scene, trying to steal the cargo before rescue workers arrived." This line will inevitably be rewritten to reflect that scavengers were searching the debris or something, similar politically correct revisions occur in the frequent Nigerian pipeline rupture stories.

Sadly, since it was in Africa, and was a cargo plane, this tragedy will receive little attention...


African plane crash kills 20
July 4, 2002 Posted: 2:52 PM EDT (1852 GMT)

BANGUI, Central African Republic -- A cargo plane has crashed in a residential area in the capital of the Central African Republic, killing 20 people on board.

Residents at the crash site in Bangui appeared to have escaped despite the plummeting wreckage of the plane destroying a dozen mud-brick houses.

Soldiers helping emergency workers at the scene said they thought the houses had been empty when the plane hit, narrowly missing a number of other nearby homes and a bustling market about one mile away in the riverside city.

A dozen bodies were laid outside the fuselage by Red Cross workers, who were pulling more bodies from the smoking mass of tangled metal.

The Associated Press, quoting local officials, reported 20 people on board the plane died and two survived.

Airline sources in Bangui said they believed the aircraft had been carrying food from Chad's capital N'Djamena to Brazzaville in the Congo Republic.

The plane appeared to have bounced when it first hit the ground, cutting deep craters in the earth before breaking up.

A wing lay across a collapsed house, debris hung from nearby trees and hot parts of engine and fuselage littered the area.

"I was afraid when I saw the plane coming down, and all of a sudden I heard a loud noise, and some parts of the aircraft flew into the air and fell in the mud," a woman identifying herself as Zara who watched the crash from her farm told The Associated Press.

The plane when it experienced technical difficulties and was trying to land at Bangui's international airport, according to officials at the regional air authority Asecna.

It crashed about two miles short of the runway, the officials told AP.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash, which occurred in clear weather in the capital's Guitangola neighbourhood.

Residents rushed to the scene, trying to steal the cargo before rescue workers arrived. They later stood on the sidelines as soldiers, firefighters and presidential guards sifted through the debris.

The crash is the latest in a string of air disasters on the continent -- the least safe to fly in last year according to figures from the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network.

A Nigerian airliner smashed into the northern city of Kano in May killing at least 148 people, including Nigerian Sports Minister Ishaya Mark Aku. Of 75 people on board, four survived. The rest of the dead were killed on the ground.

Central African Republic is one of the world's poorest countries, despite rich diamond mines. The former French colony's 3.5 million people struggle by on an average $290 a year.

5th Jul 2002, 08:01

Sadly, since it was in Africa, and was a cargo plane, this tragedy will receive little attention...

Unfortunately you've hit the nail on the head. Just another one of those incidents in Africa. But if it had been in europe or anywhere else this thread would be buzzing. Would appear that as all ways the cost of life in Africa is cheap.

Condolences to all affected by this terrible tragedy.

5th Jul 2002, 08:04
Contrary to popular belief I don't think it's a Sudan Air jet

5th Jul 2002, 09:31
Although details around what aircraft and which operator was involved in this tragedy seem vague, Aviation Safety Network (http://aviation-safety.net/index.shtml) are reporting this as a Rwandan registered ex Philippine Airlines Boeing 737.

5th Jul 2002, 18:12
The aircraft was a Sudanese registered 707 formerly owned by Phillipines airlines. Africa seems to claim about four 707's each year. Not my favourite place for flying clapped out old 707 freighters.

5th Jul 2002, 23:44
One media source is quoting one of the survivors as saying that after take off the gear would not come up but the aircraft continued anyway. Fuel burn was higher than normal and it had to divert. Fuel was exhausted on finals to Bangui.

Recovery efforts were hampered by crowds of residents who swarmed over the wrckage hacking off pieces of metal and looting the cargo of onions.

"The plane was traveling from N'Djamena in Chad to Brazzaville and was carrying passengers, which is common for cargo planes in a region where scheduled flights are few and unreliable."

Africa was rated the worst continent to fly in last year by the Aviation Safety Network.

6th Jul 2002, 16:17
ACMI I am only quoting from http://aviation-safety.net/index.shtml

6th Jul 2002, 16:27
Yes, Harro has it wrong (which is unusual). ACMI is correct that PAL never had 707s - Air Phillipines did but they were not the same outfit. http://www.planecrashinfo.com/ gives the same tail number, which someone presumably read off the wreck, but none of the 'spotter' sites have any record of it (or any other current 707 in the Phillipines) so its history is as yet unkown.
All seem to agree now it was a 707, some initially had it as a 737.

Different reports give the operator as either Prestige Air or New Gomair. In deference to Danny's sensibilites I will say no more about the latter except that they have an interesting history.

7th Jul 2002, 21:34
The BBC reports that one of the survivors was from the flight deck. He is quoted as saying, When I saw that we were going to crash, I moved from the flight deck to the kitchen.Smart move.

There is a bit more information and debate elsewhere in PPRuNe. in the forum African Aviation.

I. M. Esperto
8th Jul 2002, 14:11
Here's another link suggesting fuel starvation due to excessive dumping. Some bizzare side links as well:

10th Jul 2002, 11:06
Firstly, Airbubba, you are so right on the nail. Few in Europe and hardly anyone in the US, apparently, minds about African accidents.

Secondly, I spke to someone in Khartoum who said it was definitely not a Sudan Airways a/c.

10th Jul 2002, 11:30
What you guys are saying is of course, sadly, very true. if this had happened in Europe or the US then the board would be hopping right now. But it's not just Africa that's dissmissed, I remember a few years ago when we had that horrific knife attack on an ANA 747 in Japan, where that lunatic man wanted to fly the aircraft, "just like Microsoft's flight simulator."
If you remember the captain of that flight, a brave and heroic man, tackled the attacker and lost his life, possibly saving the airplane and all the passengers on board.

Did it get discussed here? Did it heck! There was all of about ten posts on the topic. I couldn't believe it at the time....

10th Jul 2002, 13:09
Sadly, I have to agree with OneWorld22. I’ve said exactly the same thing, (and drawn howls of protest from people who did not understand the point I was trying to make) in my pet crusade for the introduction of offset tracking.

To repeat myself: offset tracking will probably never be introduced until two 747’s (or heaven forbid, two A380’s) full of Western - particularly American - passengers are killed in a head on collision thanks in part to the ultra accurate GPS tracking most of us use.

We’ve had a 747 full of passengers involved in a head on mid air already, but (backing up OneWorld22’s assertion very effectively), it was in India, and didn’t amount to much in the eyes of those in the West. We’ve had another off the coast of Africa, (a Luftwaffe Tu154 and a USAF C141). But the dead were military personnel, who also apparently ‘don’t count’.

But now, very sadly, we’ve just had it proven to us that the unimaginable can occur, even in what is arguably one of the best ATC systems in the world – the radar controlled environment in Western Europe.

In the recent incident, the two aircraft, on different tracks, just happened to be crossing the same piece of sky at exactly the same moment when, (it would seem), an extraordinary set of circumstances occurred that prevented the all-important break in the error chain at its final link. In this case, TCAS, (or, to be more accurate, appropriate reaction by both pilots to a TCAS alert), didn’t save the day, as it usually does. (And I wonder in how many other cases it has saved the day?)

Thanks to GPS, two aircraft on the same reciprocal air route occupy the same track - exactly the same track, to within 30 metres – for hours on end, raising the chances of another mid air, (possibly because of inappropriate manoeuvring after a TCAS RA), exponentially.

I believe it’s time – before the proverbial horse bolts for once – to introduce an imbedded half mile offset to all FMS LNAV tracks when the aircraft is above 10,000’. However, it would seem I’m the only one who thinks so.

10th Jul 2002, 16:24
Good points 410, I agree that a different approach should be used regarding airway use and track following. But of course the cost and effort will be seen to be too much and as you say, only when we've had two Western passenger heavies colliding, will we see a new approach.

10th Jul 2002, 18:39
I believe it’s time – before the proverbial horse bolts for once – to introduce an imbedded half mile offset to all FMS LNAV tracks when the aircraft is above 10,000’.

The comment above is worth repeating. However, like 410, I can’t see the bureaucrats getting off their fat arses to do something about it until forced to, and I fear the only thing that will force them to act would be a tragedy on a scale they simply can’t ignore. Let’s sincerely hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us all some time in the future.

We all bitch and moan about the Media sensationalising trivial events in Aviation and turning them into something they’re not. Maybe here’s a chance for some enterprising journalist to make a fuss over something that really might make a difference.

Is there one out there?

Or do you know one?

11th Jul 2002, 07:12
Wiley, OWW22, 410 ? there is no disputing what you all say, IMHO. It is spot on and reflects the actual situation. An offset track is a desperately important safety measure and of course many of us used to fly offset anyway as a form of self-preservation when in 126·9 territory. For anyone who is/was not familiar with this operation, it consist of broadcasting position reports when overflying certain countries in Africa and taking evasive action if conflicting traffic was expected. We used to confirm position by flashing lights at one another, I think it still goes on ??? Can someone enlighten me please ?

Wonder what the pax would think if they all knew we avoided mid-airs by flashing lights at each other at about 1100 km/hr closing speed ? My whizz wheel says that?s over 300 metres per second.

I recall one memorable night when the crossing traffic flashed lights at us, we flashed back and then six other aircraft flashed lights, all within a few minutes and very close vertically of each other (and us).

Think of seven flight levels ? quickly. It happened in the days when many aircraft from the eastern bloc countries disdained to join the 126·9 procedure, which I seem to remember is an IATA procedure. I do recall that ICAO would not sanction it, but that?s par for the course for those ladies and gentlemen.

The mid-air off Namibia was an avoidable crash which should have been investigated and reported much more thoroughly, because some valuable lessons were to be learned from it, but politics rules OK ? And, as 410 said, military don?t actually count. I have noticed over the years that the same applies to cargo aircraft and crews.

For example, it was reported recently that Tony Blair sent a message of sympathy to the Russian President over the Russian losses, good and proper, mandatory in my book. Did he send a similar message to the Belgian king does anyone know ? Maybe not - after all, they were ?only? freight jockeys. They worked for a very good company and their lives had the same value as anyone else in the crash.

I reckon we need that journalist to get going.

11th Jul 2002, 09:39
What upsets me is the way ATC and regulators seem to take it as a personal insult of their professionalism whenever this is suggested by the ‘end user’ of their ‘product’, the line pilots. They sometimes even come up with mathematical models ‘proving’ that offsetting actually increases the chances of a midair.

It’s quite obvious they haven’t watched opposite direction traffic coming at them literally ‘down the boresight’ over and over again, and with RVSM, it looks ever hairier.

I agree with Wiley and 410 – the lawyers must be sharpening their pencils in anticipation for the multisquillion dollar lawsuits they’ll be filing when – not if – we have a midair that can be attributed, if only in part, to GPS accuracy.

And ICAO won’t be able to say it was unforeseen. Calls for offset tracking have come up on PPRuNe on an average of every six months or so for as long as I’ve been reading this site, and I’ve been using it in the cruise (where I’m not expressly forbidden not to do so) for many years now, and it’s nice to see the occasional aircraft passing that also uses it, (although they’re few and far between).

What amazes me is some of the places where we’re forbidden to use it. There was a Notam until recently saying ‘fly the airway centreline’ in what is probably one of the worst bottlenecks in the world, the Syrian/Jordanian corridor between Iraq and that place I dare not mention on my ISP. Apart from a constant stream of passing traffic to and from Asia, it also deals with lots of traffic climbing and descending into and out of Amman, Damascus and Beirut. If ever there was a place where offsetting should be mandatory, it’s there.

Some reporter could make a name for himself by running with this. At the best, he might help save a few hundred lives. At the worst, imagine being able to report ‘I told you so’ if another mid air was (heaven forbid) to occur?

Where's that reporter?

11th Jul 2002, 16:24
Anyone else seeing three separate threads here :confused: ?
Looks like posts intended for TCAS and offset have been lumped in here. Software prob or finger trouble ?

11th Jul 2002, 19:17
I agree that this thread should be closed!

11th Jul 2002, 20:39
What's the goddamn problem guys??? We're talking about a cargo plane the went down in Africa and the fact that noone seems to give a sh*t about it, we're talking about peoples attitudes when these things don't happen in "their neck of the woods." Offset tracking is very relevant to flying in Africa.

11th Jul 2002, 21:05
For the benefit of a previous post 126.9 is still very relevant, and in use. The problem is that many of the country's in Central |Africa is embroiled in conflict. Some of the aircraft that fly logistical missions (of ex easten block origin and operated) does not comply with this procedure as it will announce their position. Aircraft operated by some country's flying their heads of State refuse to comply as "...my position is a state secret..." Some operaters of aircraft does not broadcast at all but listen out on 126.9 as they dont want to be billed for Navigational Charges (especially if ASECNA is involved) overflying some states that doesnot have even have one Navigational Aid operational. TCAS is some thing we read of in Aviation Magazines. Gods Positioning System is the only way, except wWith a sextant and a starchart to get from A to B. so 126.9 is still active but limited.