2007 Balad aircraft crash

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2007 Balad aircraft crash
Occurrence summary
Date 9 January 2007 (2007-01-09)
Summary Cause in dispute
Site Balad, Iraq
Passengers 30[1]
Crew 5[1]
Injuries (non-fatal) 1
Fatalities 34[1]
Survivors 1[1]
Aircraft type Antonov An-26
Operator AerianTur-M
Registration ER-26068[2]

The 2007 Balad aircraft crash was a 9 January 2007 airplane incident involving an Antonov An-26 airliner, which crashed while attempting to land at the U.S. military base in Balad, Iraq.[3] The crash killed 34 people aboard and left one passenger critically injured. Officials claim the crash was caused by poor weather conditions, but other sources claim that this is a cover-up and the plane was actually shot down by a missile.[1][2][4]

Aircraft[edit]

The aircraft was an Antonov An-26B-100, registration number ER-26068.[5] It made its first flight in 1981, and was powered by two Ivchenko AI-24VT engines.[5] An-26s are a twin-engined light turboprop transport aircraft derived from the Antonov An-24, with particular attention made to potential military use. It has a modified rear fuselage with a large cargo ramp.

Background[edit]

The aircraft, which took off from Adana, Turkey,[6] at about 0400 GMT,[7] was owned by the Moldovan company AerianTur-M, and on the day of the accident had been chartered to a Turkish construction company, Kulak,[3] who had been contracted to build a new hangar at the air base.[8] The aircraft hired by BSA Aviation Ltd (charterer) was carrying both cargo and passengers; a total of 1,289 kg (2,842 lb) of cargo was on board, compared with the 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) capacity.[9] Turkish authorities told CNN Türk television that of the passengers, there were 29 Turkish workers, three Moldovans, a Russian, a Ukrainian, and an American on board, even though this totals one more than the number of people known to be on board.[10] Later, the Russian consul general in Antalya said the Russian and the Ukrainian also had Moldovan citizenship.[1] Most of those on board were construction workers who worked at the base. Brig. Gen. Robin Rand, commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said "These brave civilian-contract employees were in Iraq helping us accomplish our mission, and their loss is a tragedy," adding "Our condolences go out to the families in their time of loss."[11]

Crash[edit]

The plane crashed at 0700 GMT (0800 CET),[12] about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) away from Balad Air Base, the main hub of US military logistics in Iraq, while attempting to land.[13] An anonymous ministry official told the Associated Press that the pilot had already aborted one landing attempt due to poor weather conditions.[14] Although the aircraft was said to have crashed due to fog, one eyewitness, a relative of one of the deceased, said that he watched a missile strike the right hand side of the fuselage while standing just 300–400 meters (984-1,312 ft) from where the aircraft went down.[1] The man also said that multiple other eyewitnesses also saw the aircraft get shot down. İsmail Kulak, a partner in the ownership of the Kulak Construction Company, was among the dead.[15]

Emergency response[edit]

Because the aircraft crashed in a military base, the emergency response was supplied by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. Ground ambulance response was by the 206th Area Support Medical Company, which is an US Army National Guard from Missouri. Eight ambulances responded with support from the base QRF. Helicopters from the Air Force's 64th Expeditionary Rescue Squadron transported the dead from the scene.[11] Of the 35 passengers and crew members on board the flight, two individuals were pulled alive from the wreckage. One died after being transported by an Army ground ambulance to the Air Force Theater Hospital.[16] The other survivor, a Turk named Abdülkadir Akyüz,[17] was carried by an Army ground ambulance to the Air Force Theater Hospital, where he received life-saving emergency surgery.[11]

Reaction from the Islamic Army in Iraq[edit]

The day after the accident, the insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq, using a web site known by authorities to be used by the group, claimed that they shot the plane down. The statement said that their members had "opened fire on a plane trying to land at an American base near Balad from different directions, using medium-range weapons... With the help of God, they were able to shoot it down."[4]

Investigation[edit]

The recovered flight recorders from the crashed aircraft

After the wreckage was photographed in situ, the army hauled it away on flatbed trucks to the base, where it is presently secured.[11] As well as the ongoing question of fog, Ahmed al-Mussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi transport ministry, said one day after the crash that "It must have been technical failure or a lack of aviation experience (on the part of the crew),".[18] The crash is under investigation by the Iraqi government, American government and Moldovan government, but the Turkish government has been denied permission to join the investigative team.[19] The Air Force and the Army say they are willing to help with the investigation.[4][11][20] Ali Ariduru, deputy head of the Turkish aviation authority, said initial information indicated there was no technical malfunction on the plane.[20]

There is confusion as to the whereabouts of the aircraft's Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder (FDR and CVR, commonly referred to as "black boxes"). The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated they have been shipped to Antonov's Kiev headquarters, but Turkish Minister of Transportation Binali Yıldırım claims they are still in Iraq, with the rest of the debris.[19] All that is confirmed is that they have been recovered, which occurred on 30 January.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Moldovan plane that crashed in Iraq was downed – eyewitness". Russian News and Information Agency Novosti. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
  2. ^ a b Moldova plane crash in Iraq tied to insurgency arms smugglingTiraspol Times & Weekly Review. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  3. ^ a b 32 Killed in Cargo Plane Crash in Iraq – CBS News. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Islamic Army in Iraq claims responsibility for downing – Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  5. ^ a b ASN Aircraft accident descriptionAntonov 26B-100 ER-26068Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Plane crash in Balad, Iraq, kills at least 31, mostly Turks". Los Angeles Times (Times Wire Services). 10 January 2007. Retrieved 27 May 2009. 
  7. ^ Turkey: Iraq plane crash kills 30CNN. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  8. ^ Delayed passport saves construction worker's life – Today's Zaman. Retrieved 27 February 2007.
  9. ^ Weather blamed for plane crash near Baghdad – Turkey Daily News. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  10. ^ "Moldovan plane crashes in Iraq killing 30 Turkish workers". Russian News and Information Agency Novosti. Archived from the original on 12 January 2007. Retrieved 22 January 2007. 
  11. ^ a b c d e U.S. Military Responds to Civilian Aircraft Crash – NewsBlaze. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  12. ^ Un avion transportant des ouvriers turcs s'écrase en Irak: 34 tuésRadio France Internationale – 9 January 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2007. In French
  13. ^ Thirty-one die in Iraq plane crash-Turkish officialReuters AlertNet. Retrieved 26 February 2007.
  14. ^ Cargo Plane Down In Northern IraqAero-News. Retrieved 28 January 2007.
  15. ^ Cargo plane carrying Turkish workers crashes in Baghdad The plane carrying workers crashed 200 meters to runway – SABAH Newspaper (English version). Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  16. ^ Nellis Airmen respond to civilian aircraft crash – United States Air Force. Retrieved 18 January 2007.
  17. ^ Lone survivor of Baghdad crash to return home – Turkish Daily News. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  18. ^ Iraq blames technical error for plane crash – Iraq Updates. Retrieved 27 February 2007.
  19. ^ a b The puzzle of the Moldovan plane crash continues – Today's Zaman. Retrieved 25 February 2007.
  20. ^ a b Cargo plane from Turkey crashes in Iraq, killing 34Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
  21. ^ "Flight data recorders of Moldovan An-27 are found in Iraq". Izvestia (in Russian). 30 January 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2007.  View translated version.

External links[edit]