SARPA Embraer E120 Leaves Runway At Colombia’s Macarena Airport

A SARPA Embraer E120 at Colombia’s La Macarena Airport left the runway on August 19, 2019, after landing in bad weather. The incident was reported in The Aviation Herald who noted that the plane veered to the left off the runway after landing and came to rest with its nose and left gear in a ditch. No-one was injured but the E120 did suffer some damage.

A SARPA Embraer 120. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The aircraft (registered as HK-4973) was operating a flight from Bogota to La Macarena. There were 29 passengers and three crew on the flight. The website Crash Aerian Aero said the aircraft landed on runway 35 in heavy rain.

Footage was recorded of the plane landing.

SARPA is a small Colombian charter, air ambulance and air taxi service based in Bogota. It operates two Embraers, nine Jetstream 3201s, and a single Learjet 45XR.

A rocky year for SARPA

Yesterday’s incident at La Macarena is the third incident involving SARPA in less than a year.

According to Aero Inside, a SAPRA jetstream (HK-4540) was flying from Quibdo to Bahia Solano on August 8th, 2019. Similar to yesterday’s incident, the jetstream veered left off the runway after landing at Bahia Solano and ended up in a ditch with its nose wheel collapsed. There were 18 people on the plane but no injuries were reported. The aircraft was reported to have suffered substantial damage.

In November 2018, another SARPA jetstream landed at Bahia Solano after a flight from Medellin. The plane, registered as HK-4394, landed on runway 18, veered off and stopped in soft ground. No injuries were reported. The aircraft suffered minor damage.

Yesterday’s incident at La Macarena is been investigated by Colombia’s aviation regulatory authority, Aerocivil.

A screenshot of footage of yesterday’s incident at La Macarena. Source: Jhon Acero via YouTube.

Aviation safety in South America is fast improving

Aviation safety in Central and South America has improved dramatically in recent decades. The region had long been dogged by safety issues and a high accident rate. But now, the aviation industry in the region is on par with global safety standards and serious accidents are becoming less common.

Aircraft leaving the runway or runway overruns are not uncommon and happen around the world. It’s not the exclusive domain of developing nations or smaller airlines.

Incidents like yesterday’s SARPA matter are relatively common.

Earlier this month an S7 787-800 overran the runway whilst taking off from Moscow. The seasonal monsoon in India has caused a wave of incidents with aircraft in that country. A United Airlines 757 skidded off the runway at Newark two months ago. This month, an Emirates A380 landed in Amsterdam with deflated tires.

None of these incidents caused injuries beyond a decent scare. What they do go to show is that “minor” incidents like yesterday’s SARPA incident at La Macarena are reasonably regular events.


SARPA’s three incidents in the last twelve months resulted in no injuries to passengers or crews. That suggests a high degree of professionalism and training from the pilots. The success (from a safety perspective) of big local airlines like Avianca suggest that incidents like what happened yesterday at La Macarena will become increasingly rare in the region.

Simple Flying reached out to SAPRA for a comment about the incident at La Macarena yesterday but had received no response prior to publication.