(eTN) – Information is emerging from Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, that an Iljushin 76 cargo plane, owned by Aero Services, while attempting to land at Brazzaville’s international airport, crashed into a housing estate, killing the crew on board and scores of people on the ground as the plane hit, disintegrated, and the wreckage caught fire.
Reports indicate the crew of 6 perished with others on board, along with those on the ground. So far, 32 bodies have been recovered from the crash site. Fourteen people that were on the ground were taken to hospitals.
Weather conditions were poor at the time of landing and may have played a major role in the crash, similar to when a B727 of Hewa Bora crashed in Kisangani last year. It appears the plane was attempting to land during a thunderstorm and overran the runway. The plane then broke through the airport perimeter fence, crossed a road, and crashed into houses before falling into a ravine.
The registration of the plane was provisionally given as EK76300. The aircraft reportedly came from Pointe Noire. Accidents with Soviet era planes, in particular Antonovs and Iljushins, have been commonplace in particular in Congo DR and the Sudan, mostly attributed to poor maintenance and equally poor and often absent crew training on suitable simulators where they could be prepared how to manage weather conditions and technical incidents. The use of such aged planes has been prohibited in a number of countries already and ICAO is working with civil aviation authorities in Africa to improve safety oversight and enforcement of relevant airworthiness directives and training requirements.
Africa presently has the worst aviation safety record in the world, largely due to some countries still letting such stone age planes fly, and this latest accident will only serve to renew international calls to finally ban these flying coffins once and for all from the skies, not only above Africa, but around the globe.