A United Nations passenger flight, operated by UTAir, has crashed upon landing in Gao, Mali. The 26-year-old Antonov AN-74, registered RA-74044, careened off the runway upon landing, subsequently causing injuries to all 11 occupants onboard. One member of the flight crew was seriously injured during the hard impact.
At approximately 10:15 local time, the aircraft landed during inclement weather after completing a flight from Bamako, the capital of Mali. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said that upon touchdown the Antonov skidded off the runway. The aircraft’s landing gear subsequently collapsed and the nose cone crumpled upon impact with the ground.
In a statement, MINUSMA refused to clarify if the incident was due to weather. Airport officials told local media that the aircraft “made a forced landing” but unconfirmed reports suggest that weather was not a factor in the accident. One airport official suggested that the aircraft careened off the end of the runway, not a middle section.
“A MINUSMA plane from Bamako with eleven people (four passengers, all United Nations personnel and seven crew members) on board, made a hard landing at Gao airport,”United Nations statement
Gao Airport has a single runway (07/25) measuring 8202 feet long (2500 metres). In March 2018, an Antonov An-12BK also crashed at the airport.
MINUSMA was established in July 2013 after the Tuareg rebellion of 2012, which saw jihadist groups seize control of Northern Mali. With around 13,000 peacekeepers, it is one of the most important peacekeeping missions in Africa.
This article will be updated if more significant updates emerge.
Feature Image: Mali local media outlets