Tracep AN28 near Bukavu on Sep 10th 2022, aircraft impacted terrain
Last Update: September 20, 2022 / 18:28:48 GMT/Zulu time
Sep 12th 2022: According to Radio Okapi (a radio station operated by the UN) the aircraft departed Bukavo and was never heard again on radio. A search hampered by bad weather so far has not succeeded to find the aircraft.
Residents at Shabunda about 80nm west of Bukavu report the wreckage of a small plane has been found with none of the occupants having survived - so far it is unclear whether this is the Tracep aircraft, there have been several past crashes in that area.
On Sep 12th 2022 South-Kivu's (Bukavu's) Provincial Minister for Transport reported the aircraft had experienced a problem and crashed. All three aboard (two Russian pilots, one Congolese mechanic) perished. The search for the aircraft is still on going, the causes of the crash are unclear. The Minister provided a non-existing registration 9O-NSX (no photos, no registry, no evidence of this tail number).
On Sep 14th 2022 Residents near Lulingu Airport, about 70nm west of Bukavu reported having seen the aircraft. While the search now focusses on the area between Lulingu and Kasese, Park Rangers of the Kahuzi Biega National Park, their offices located about 3nm west of Bukavu, have been asked to look out for the aircraft, too. A helicopter operating from Goma (DR Congo) has joined the search however is limited as of current due to weather.
On Sep 14th 2022 South-Kivu's (Bukavu's) Provincial Minister for Transport hinted in additional interviews that overloading of the aircraft is being looked into, however, only the black boxes once found will clarify the causes of the crash.
On Sep 16th 2022 the search was continued around Lulingu with the assistance by a UN helicopter. The missing aircraft had last contacted Bukavu Tower about 5nm out advising they were turning direct Kasese and was subsequently observed overhead Lulingu at 14:22L, the aircraft had obviously turned on a more southerly route via Lulingu due to a weather front on their direct route to Kasese.
Local sources reported the aircraft suffered engine problems. The aircraft had a systematic problem, the engines overheated on every flight.
On Sep 16th 2022 The Aviation Herald received information from a relative of one of the pilots, that both pilots were Ukrainian Citizens. They had not been informed about the aircraft missing and became only aware of the missing aircraft, when the pilot didn't answer their messages for 6 days, and subsequently discovered the coverage of The Aviation Herald. The airline, upon their query, then stated the aircraft was missing, they have no further information so far. The pilot had not mentioned any problems with the aircraft in the number of years he had been flying the aircraft for Tracep.
On Sep 19th 2022 a first photo of the crash site surfaced without any further information (see below).
On Sep 20th 2022 the airport confirmed the wreckage has been located about 20km from Bukavu, obviously still in the climb out of Bukavu in an area, where radio contact could not be maintained with Bukavu Tower. A team of 5 rescuers reached the crash site. There were no survivors. The search was misled by information the aircraft had been seen near Lulingu and was further hampered by bad weather, that only cleared sufficiently on Sep 19th. The search for the black boxes is under way.
Tracep Congo Aviation, based in Goma (DR Congo) report they have been founded in 2003 and operate cargo charter flights with a fleet of one AN-28 and are trying to introduce a Let L-410.
Kasese's Airfield in Maniema district is located at coordinates S1.6380 E27.0853 located about 110nm westnorthwest of Bukavu.
This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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