An AerCaribe Antonov An-32 cargo plane has crashed while attempting to land at Iquitos Airport, Peru. The right-wing has broken off from the fuselage. Photos show the aircraft has broken up and that there was a fire. The four crew members onboard suffered minor injuries and were hospitalized.
Multiple media outlets are reporting the story, but The Aviation Herald says the Antonov AN-32 (registration OB-2120P) was flying from Lima to Iquitos in Peru. The aircraft was coming into land when it reported problems with the landing gear. Footage shows the aircraft veered off the runway, coming to rest in a heavily vegetated paddock.
Twitter user RenzoFigueroa99 has posted footage of the crash online. It shows smoke coming from the aircraft. It also shows the forward section of the fuselage has broken away from the main body of the plane.
Accidente de una aeronave Air Caribean en Iquitos 😔💔 pic.twitter.com/a3O0XCxCWT
— R✈🦠 (@RenzoFigueroa99) October 14, 2020
Further footage posted by the same user shows smoke billowing from the crash site as airport workers scramble to access the site. Early information suggests the aircraft ended up about 1760 meters past the threshold of runway 06 and about 100 meters to the left of the runway.
AerCaribe Peru now down to nine Antonov turboprops
AerCaribe Peru is a subsidiary of the Colombian-based AerCaribe. Between them, they operate services throughout Central and South America. The airline has a handful of Boeing 737-400 plus ten, now nine, Antonov turboprops.
The Ukraine made Antonov AN-32 has been around for nearly forty years, the plane first coming into production in 1982. In total, 373 of the planes got manufactured until production ceased in 2012.
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The AN-32 is a variant of the better known Antonov AN-26. The AN-32 was designed for military use and is adaptable to multiple uses, including air-dropping cargo, short-haul passenger flights, medevacs, firefighting, skydiving, or para trooping roles.
The list of current and former military users is interesting. Users are primarily military forces from smaller, developing countries. The AN-32 also gained some traction will civil users such as AerCaribe.
Chequered accident history for the AN-32
Considering only 373 of the aircraft type were ever produced, it’s fair to say the AN-32 has a chequered accident history. That may be due to several factors external to the plane itself. They include the flying environment, pilot skill, and maintenance history.
There have been 11 serious incidents since the AN-32 came into service. Nine of these incidents can be classified as crashes or “disappearances”. Of the two remaining incidents, one was an on-ground collision with another plane. The second involved an AN-32 getting shot down during a landing in Sri Lanka in 1995.
In the last five years, with the addition of today’s crash landing in Iquitos, there have been four incidents, two of which resulted in fatalities. In July 2016, an Indian Air Force An-32 flying from Chennai to Port Blair disappeared off the radar while flying over the Bay of Bengal. Twenty-nine people went down with the plane.
In 2018, an AN-32 belonging to the Sudanese Air Force collided with another plane while on the ground in Khartoum. No injuries or deaths resulted.
Just last year, another AN-32 belonging to the Indian Air Force disappeared after taking off from Assam in northeast India. Thirteen people were onboard. Eight days later, the wreckage got found in Arunachal Pradesh.
While the number of AN-32s still flying is declining, their history doesn’t inspire confidence in those still remaining. Today’s incident in Peru reinforces that. Fortunately, no-one died in today’s crash.