2011 Pointe-Noire Trans Air Congo An-12 crash
TN-AGK seen at Sharjah International Airport (April 2004)
|Date||21 March 2011|
|Summary||Crashed on approach|
|Site||Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo|
|Fatalities||4 + 19 on ground|
|Aircraft type||Antonov An-12|
|Operator||Trans Air Congo|
|Flight origin||Maya-Maya Airport, Brazzaville, Republic of Congo|
|Destination||Antonio Agostinho Neto International Airport, Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo|
On 21 March 2011, an Antonov An-12 of Trans Air Congo, registration TN-AGK, crashed on approach to Pointe Noire Airport, Republic of the Congo. 23 people were killed; all four crew members and 19 others on the ground. The aircraft involved had been listed as 'not airworthy' in 2006 by the ICAO.
The accident occurred on 21 March 2011 at 3:30 pm local time (2:30 pm UTC), when a Trans Air Congo cargo plane, previously declared as unairworthy, crashed during a scheduled flight in the Mvou-Mvou district of Pointe-Noire. Although no METAR was available from Pointe Noire Airport, weather conditions were good, with temperatures of 31 °C, QNH 1011 hPA falling to 1007 hPa and winds from the east to the south west at between 4 and 12 knots (7.4 and 22.2 km/h).
The flight had been cleared to land at the Pointe-Noire airport, and was on approach to the runway when the crash occurred. According to the Russian Embassy, the flight had attempted an emergency ditching in the sea, but was unable to do so.
Four crew members were on board. It was initially reported that five 'illegal' passengers were also on board, but this was later stated not to be the case. The use of the Antonov An-12 for carrying passengers is prohibited in the Republic of the Congo.
There were conflicting reports about the number of dead and injured, with figures of 16, 17, and 19 reported. On 23 March, the Pointe-Noire mayor Roland Bouiti-Viaudo stated that 23 bodies had been recovered to date. The number of injured was 14. On 23 March, Congo's Agence Nationale de l'Aviation Civile du Congo issued an update stating only four crew were on the aircraft. They were killed, as were 19 on the ground.
Video of the crashing aircraft shows it rolling to starboard and simultaneously diving to the ground. Both port engines are producing significant amounts of smoke. The smoke produced from the port engines appears to be normal engine exhaust, which highlights the absence of exhaust from the starboard pair of engines. If two of the engines on the aircraft were not operational, a significant amount of asymmetric thrust would be generated, which is capable of causing an aircraft to roll unless properly corrected for. The video also clearly shows the aircraft otherwise configured for landing, with extended flaps and landing gear down. A failure of both engines on one wing for this aircraft type may exceed the rudder authority of the aircraft to counter the asymmetric thrust.
A joint committee was set up by the Congolese Government to investigate the accident. Committee members include members of the Government, the police and representatives from the aviation industry in the Republic of the Congo.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.
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