Passengers and crew survive plane crash in Wau

29 Mar 2012

Passengers and crew survive plane crash in Wau

29 March 2012 – A Fokker 50S aircraft operated by Feeder Airlines crashed at Wau Airport in Western Bahr El Ghazal state this morning, but all fifty passengers and crew members survived the accident.

Flight 360 departed Juba International Airport at about 8 o'clock and crashed as it was on final approach at around 9:45 a.m., according to Wau Civil Airport Director John Akot.

Mr. Akot said that the pilot Nicola Ibra never lost contact with the airport tower prior to the crash, adding that he advised Mr. Ibra to land near the middle of the 2.8-kilometre-long runway to avoid a segment that is being covered with tarmac.

There was no comment immediately available from the airline company.There was no indication that anyUnited Nations personnel were aboard the plane.

A female passenger said the pilot aborted his first landing attempt. "We were not informed whether there was a problem," said the woman, who would only give her first as Martha.

Members of the airport fire brigade rushed to the stricken aircraft and doused the plane's severed left engine with water as a precaution. "We managed to save all the people on board," said fire brigade director Maj. Joseph Mayen.

All five crew members suffered minor injuries, according to Wau Teaching Hospital medical director Dr. Marcello Gabriel. A female flight attendant broke her right leg when she leapt from the aircraft when it was still moving.

The five will be transferred to Khartoum for medical treatment.

Contacted at the hospital as he awaited arrangements to be flown to the Sudanese capital, pilot Nicola Ibra declined to comment on the causes of the crash but offered thanks "to God that we are all fine."

Acting state governor Angelo Taban expressed his regret over the accident, adding that airport facilities sustained only minor damage.

The absence of a secure fence around the Wau airport premises has caused safety problems for pilots in past years.

Feeder Airlines managing director David Martin Hassan told IN SUDAN magazine that he was forced to abort landings on three separate occasions during a flight in July 2010 because he spotted people and dogs milling around the dirt airstrip.

A fence was installed in 2011.