A plane crash in South Sudan has reportedly left at least 10 people dead. While details about the incident are still sketchy, the aircraft appears to have been a Let L-410 operated by South Sudan Supreme Airlines. The crash occurred at approximately 17:00 East African time on Tuesday.
10 feared dead after crash
A regional aircraft has crashed moments after departure from Pieri Airstrip in South Sudan. The aircraft reportedly landed safely at Pieri earlier yesterday and was taking off to head to Juba when the accident took place.
Initially, photographs were shared on social media of what looked to be an Antonov AN-26 crash site. However, reporting in the Aviation Herald suggests that these are not the actual photographs; rather, they relate to another incident involving an AN-26 operated by South West Aviation.
Ten people, including the two pilots, died when a plane crashed Tuesday at an airstrip in South Sudan's Jonglei state, the region's governor said.
"It was with great shock and horror to receive the news of the plane crash (HK-4274) of South Sudan Supreme Airline.'' pic.twitter.com/7FDLFyh2IV
— Eastleigh News (@NewsEastleigh) March 3, 2021
South Supreme Airlines ceased operations in 2017, but has since relaunched under the name of South Sudan Supreme Airlines. It is known to operate both AN-26s and Let L-410s. Subsequent information shared with the Aviation Herald suggest that it was actually a Let that crashed at Pieri.
The remote nature of Pieri Airstrip and the lack of mobile coverage there means details on the accident are incredibly sparse. Denay Jock Chagor, Governor of Jonglei State sent out a letter expressing his ‘great shock and horror’ at the reports of the incident. He stated that the plane was registered HK-4274 and that 10 people have lost their lives.
However, searching that tail number throws no details up, save for an Augusta Bell helicopter. It is therefore understood that the aircraft was flying under a false registration, something which is all too common in emerging aviation markets.
Ayii Duang Ayii, director of South Supreme Airlines, confirmed to local media that one of its aircraft didn’t return to the home base at Juba, without giving any further details. He said it was “not clear how many people” were onboard the flight. “But the first information communicated to us was that there were 11 people onboard,” he said.
The airline is reportedly sending a team to the site to establish all the facts.
Second incident for the airline
Today’s crash is the second incident for the same airline after an AN-26 operated by South Supreme Airlines crashed at Wau in March 2017. The Antonov, registration S9-TLZ, was flying from Juba to Wau when it crashed on landing.
Eyewitness reports suggest the aircraft had smoke coming from its tail as it approached the airstrip. Others say the aircraft missed the landing strip and collided with a fire truck, bursting into flames. Either way, the aircraft was consumed by fire and subsequently destroyed.
Thankfully, although 37 of the 45 passengers were injured in the accident, no fatalities were recorded.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by today’s tragedy.