Sudan Airways Flight 139
The aircraft involved in the accident is seen here on approach to Fiumicino Airport in 1989.
|Date||8 July 2003|
|Summary||Mechanical failure followed by pilot error|
Port Sudan |
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-200C|
|Aircraft name||White Nile|
|Flight origin||Port Sudan New International Airport|
|Destination||Khartoum International Airport|
Sudan Airways Flight 139 was a Sudan Airways passenger flight that crashed on 8 July 2003 at Port Sudan. The Boeing 737 aircraft was due to operate a domestic scheduled Port Sudan–Khartoum passenger service. Some 15 minutes after takeoff it lost power in one of its engines, which prompted the crew to return to the airport of departure for an emergency landing. In doing so, the pilots missed the airport runway and the airplane descended until it hit the ground, disintegrating after the impact. All 117 people aboard died.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 737-2J8C, c/n 21169, registered ST-AFK. Powered with two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7 engines, it had its maiden flight on 29 August 1975, and was delivered new to Sudan Airways on 15 September 1975. At the time of the accident the aircraft was almost 28 years old.
The airplane had reportedly departed Port Sudan at 4:00 am (UTC+3), bound for Khartoum. The pilot radioed about ten minutes after take-off, informing about a problem with one of the engines and that he would fly the aircraft back to the airport of departure to make an emergency landing. However, the plane plummeted into the ground before returning to the airfield and immediately caught fire.
All but one of the 117 occupants of the aircraft —most of them Sudanese— perished in the accident. There were three Indians, a Briton, a Chinese, an Emirati, and an Ethiopian among the dead passengers as well. Initially, the crash had a child as a sole survivor, who later died from the wounds he received.
Then Sudan foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail raised the trade embargo imposed by the U.S. government in 1997 as a contribution to the accident, as he described the company was unable to get spare parts for the maintenance of the airline's fleet because of that sanctions. The aircraft involved in the accident, in particular, hadn't been serviced for years.
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 19 December 2011.
- "Accident information : Boeing 737 Sudan Airways ST-AFK". Airfleets.net. Retrieved 19 December 2011.
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