(Wikipedia file photo of the Antonov 24)
More information has now been received on the deadly crash yesterday in South Kordofan, where 31 passengers and crew died as the aircraft hit the side of a mountain near the main town of Talodi while attempting to land for a second time in bad visibility, caused by a dust storm which had reportedly reduced visibility of the airfield to near zero conditions.
Amongst the dead are Khartoums Minister for Religious Affairs, the State Minister for Youth and Sports and notably also the State Minister for Tourism Eissa Daif-Allah, who perished alongside three top security officials of the rank of Major General and their aides, senior administration figures and a state media team.
The Antonov 24 was reportedly owned and operated by Alfa Aviation, a company with a woeful accident record, following the fiery crash of one of their Iljushin 76 on 30th June 2008 and another crash of one of their Antonov 24s on 11th November 2010. The Antonov 24 has been in service since 1957 as a passenger version while the Antonov 26 is a predominant cargo aircraft, at times also modified however to carry passengers too.
Sudans air accident record, alongside that of Congo DR, is amongst the worst in the world and often attributed to weak oversight and enforcement of regulations by the countrys civil aviation department. Lack of prescribed maintenance, lack of crew training and the often total absence of simulator training for pilots has in the past been regularly cited by international aviation observers as contributing, or even sole factors in past air accidents. Unlike many other countries in Africa, Sudan continues to register and permit the use of Soviet era ancient aircraft like Antonovs and Iljushins, which are cheap to acquire after being dumped from around the globe into aviation jurisdictions still ignorant to the dangers associated with flying such aircraft, or otherwise easily bribed to turn a blind eye to such methods, making it only a matter of time before the next crash happens. It is understood from a Khartoum based source that a full investigation has been ordered into the crash, though from experience little if any sanctions are taken by the aviation authorities against those at fault, as the continued operation of Alfa in the Sudan, inspite of earlier crashes amply demonstrates.
Condolences are expressed to the families and friend of those who perished in the crash.
(Talodi location map courtesy of Google)