BLAME GAME BEGINS AS FAKE REGISTRATION ALLEGED
(Posted 23rd January 2020)
The crashed aircraft, a Soviet era Antonov 26 cargo plane, was officially operating under registration EX-126 (Kyrgyzstan) but a number of sources have suggested the aircraft also operated under an allegedly false Iraqi registration YI-AZR, something the unfolding air accident investigation will no doubt look at. The now available MSN 11508 also confirms that the aircraft first entered service in 1981, making it more than 39 years old.
Additional information received says that out of 8 on board the stricken aircraft only one person survived but Juba news reports suggest more people may have been killed as a provisional body count tallied at 17. It could not be established if there were additional undocumented persons on board or if people were killed on the ground when the aircraft impacted.
The South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority came under immediate fire for allegedly failing in their oversight and promptly defended itself with a feeble explanation that the aircraft was chartered by the UN.
That however does not absolve them from safety oversight and questions are mounting to make the aircraft’s repair and maintenance records available, produce details on crew training, the loading sheets and the real registration of the aircraft. This being the second documented deadly crash of South West Aviation in the space of 2 years are demands emerging to ground the airline.
South Sudan has in the past suffered many air accidents involving Soviet era aircraft and calls have been renewed to ban such aged and not airworthy planes from the African skies, the only remaining sanctuary for many of the former Soviet Union air fleet.
Link to initial ATCNews report about the crash posted less than 2 hours after the incident happened: