A Western Global MD11 in Harare on Feb 14th 2016 and the results of the fuel stop

Last Update: February 21, 2016 / 18:51:23 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Feb 14, 2016


Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

On Feb 15th 2016 news coverages hit the global headlines from Zimbabwe stating, that a Western Global Airlines MD-11 enroute from Germany to South Africa performed an emergency landing in Harare (Zimbabwe) after being denied landing in Maputo (Mozambique). While refueling the refueler noticed blood dripping from the aircraft and called police. Police discovered huge amount of money, South African Rands, and the body of a dead male. All six crew were arrested.

The Aviation Herald met this story with disbelief. Blood dripping off the aircraft after so many hours of flight? This detail alone shot the story down at an instant.

However, background research now revealed following facts:

On Feb 13th 2016 a Western Global Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-11, registration N545JN performing flight AJK-4425 from Entebbe (Uganda) to Liege (Belgium), performed a seemingly uneventful flight and landed safely in Liege.

The aircraft subsequently positioned to Munich (Germany) still as flight AJK-4425 the same day.

A planespotter took a photograph of the aircraft in Munich which showed blood stains at the right hand side of the fuselage.

Ground staff at Munich Airport noticed the blood stains as well and reported the blood stain. The blood stains were identified as result of a bird strike however and no further action was taken.

In Munich the aircraft received its cargo destined for Durban (South Africa), a load of bank notes printed in Europe for the Reserve Bank of South Africa, and in the evening of Feb 13th 2016 departed as flight AJK-4130 with the intermediate destination Harare (Zimbabwe) for a planned fuel stop arriving in Harare on Feb 14th 2016.

During refueling the refueler discovered the blood stains on the panel, reportedly an air conditioning panel, at the right hand side of the fuselage and called police. A stowaway was subsequently recovered from the aircraft.

The aircraft, crew and the circumstances of the death of the stowaway are still under investigation by police in Zimbabwe.

The airline confirmed that their aircraft was leased to Network Airline Management. The shipment picked up in Munich was destined for South African Reserve Bank. The aircraft operates to Africa for Network Airline Management several times a week on a regular basis with Western Global providing aircraft and crew and Network Airline Management providing security, ground handling and cargo. The airline wrote: "During a routine fuel stop in Zimbabwe, a body was found in the lower compartment. The body is presumed to be a stowaway who may have entered the airplane during a previous stop. The situation is currently under review."

South African Reserve Bank stated: "The bulk of the annual production of banknotes is done locally in South Africa and a small percentage is done offshore as part of the contingency plans of the SARB. The aircraft currently detained at Harare Airport is carrying a consignment of South African banknotes that was produced overseas as part of the SARB's annual production plan."

On Feb 20th 2016 Zimbabwean police stated, that the autopsy of the body revealed no internal or external injuries, the death was result of lack of oxygen. There was no suspicious activity by the crew, nothing suspicious around the cargo of 67 tons of bank notes. The aircraft and crew therefore were released to continue the flight.
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Feb 14, 2016


Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

This article is published under license from Avherald.com. © of text by Avherald.com.
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