The Reporter (Addis Ababa)

25 January 2014

Ethiopia: Ukraine Plane Crashes On the Outskirts of Addis Ababa

A Ukraine-registered Antonov28 passenger aircraft flying from Entebbe, Uganda to Sana, Yemen crossing the Ethiopian air space crashed on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, around Laga Dadi, last Monday.

According to the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA), the pilots communicated with the authority on Monday morning asking for an over-fly permit that would enable them to cross Ethiopia. The authority granted them a flight permit. The air navigation department with ECAA gave the pilots the flight path.

While the aircraft was flying over Ethiopia it reportedly encountered an engine problem near Addis Ababa. Officials of ECAA told The Reporter that the pilots contacted the ECAA air traffic control tower at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and reported they had encountered a technical problem and wanted to make an emergency landing. Consequently, both runways at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport were cleared for the emergency landing. Fire fighting trucks with their crews were waiting for the aircraft with a red alert. Departing flights were advised to stay at the aprons near the passenger terminals. But the ill-fated Antonov was unable to make it to the airport.

After the pilots reported final approach to the airport at about 3:35 a.m. they vanished into the thin air. Later on the Search and Rescue Team of the ECAA found out that the plane crashed near Addis Ababa around Lega Dadi locality. The Search and Rescue Team evacuated the pilots to a hospital in Addis Ababa. There were no passengers on board. The pilots are being hospitalized in Addis Ababa.

According to aviation experts, the Soviet-era rickety Antonov aircraft are real concern for aviation safety. These aircraft, aged more than 30 years, are poorly maintained, experts say. Since their tag prices are cheap, most African countries use them for both military and civilian operations. And they have been causing sporadic crashes in different countries, including in East Europe, Asia and Latin America, but more frequently in Africa. The ECAA imposed restrictions on the import of Antonov aircraft to Ethiopia more than 22 years ago.

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