On 9th February 2024, an African Express Airways MD-82 sustained substantial damage after landing short of the runway threshold at Malakal Airport in South Sudan.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-82, with registration 5Y-AXL, was operating a flight from Juba to Malakal in South Sudan. However, while landing at Malakal’s runway 04, the aircraft touched down short of the runway and suffered the collapse of the main gear.
As a result, the aircraft suffered irreparable damage. The MD-82 stopped on the runway on its nose gear and belly of the fuselage, with its main undercarriage collapsed.
The exact number of people on board remains unclear, with sources mentioning varying figures. Thankfully, all individuals onboard were safely evacuated after the incident. All those on board evacuated on the runway and were taken to the terminal.
Rescue and emergency personnel promptly responded to the scene, and ensured safe evacuation. Preliminary reports suggest the main landing gear collapsed upon impact, causing the plane to come to rest on the runway.
Malakal’s Acting Governor reported that the national government had contracted the aircraft to carry returnees from Sudan to South Sudan. In the last two weeks, the aircraft had been reportedly carrying 300 returnees per day in two daily flights.
Malakal Airport authorities have closed the runway indefinitely for inspection and repairs. This closure is expected to disrupt air travel to and from the region. Passengers are advised to contact their airlines for updates and rebooking options.
An official investigation into the cause of the incident is underway. Authorities are currently gathering information and interviewing witnesses. The results of the investigation are expected to be released in due course.