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Recurring Plane Crashes in Sudan

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM (Sudanow.info.sd) - A BO105 training helicopter belonging to Kenana Air Base crashed on Sunday near Kosti city, in the White Nile State, killing one of its pilots and leaving two crew members injured.

An official at the Chief Staff of the Air Forces said the crash was a result of a technical fault while the crew was conducting an exercise mission.

The Sudanese airspace had seen some very horrific accidents involving Sudanese aircraft in the last three decades in which many lives were lost, including some high-ranking officials.

Following is a chronicle of some Sudanese air crashes according to available statistics:


The most recent Sudanese plane accidents occurred in February last year when a helicopter carrying Political secretary of the ruling National Congress Party Hamid Mumtaz was destroyed when it fell down in the wilderness in Gedarif State in eastern Sudan. Neither Mumtaz nor his accompanying media delegation was hurt. On same day Vice President Hasabo Mohammad Abdulrahman escaped another accident when his plane caught fire minutes after he and his company disembarked from it at Khartoum Airport.


Some 32 people were killed, including three government ministers and army and police officers, while on their way to Kadugli, South Kordufan, to take part in the Eid Al-Fitr prayer on August when their plane crashed because of bad weather.

In July 2012 a Sudanese military chopper crashed near Khor Tunju Dam, West of al-Fashir in North Darfur State, killing 7 army personnel on board.

In February of the same year three Sudanese officials were killed when a chopper they were boarding crashed in Fao district of Gedarif State, Eastern Sudan, while former Agriculture Minister Abdulhalim al-Mutaafi and five others were unhurt.


A Sudanese military plane crashed on December, 2011 at al-Obayyid Airport, North Kordufan, due to technical malfunction, killing all six crew members.


In December 2010 a civilian aircraft crashed while trying to land at Zalengi Airport killing a woman while the other passengers on board sustained minor injuries.

The same month witnessed the crash of a military training aircraft west of Port Sudan. Both crew members, a Russian pilot and a Sudanese trainee, escaped unhurt.

In October 2010 a Sudanese cargo plane crashed in Sharja Airport, UAE, killing all six crew members.

In March of the same year two military choppers crashed in Shattaya district, South Darfur State, without any casualties.


In June 2008 a Sudan Airways airbus plane coming from Damascus in Syria caught fire seconds after landing at Khartoum Airport. Thirty passengers on board were burned to death while 20 others were hurt. Some 160 other passengers on board were evacuated safely from the inferno. Survivors told awesome stories about their ordeal.

In May 2008 the SPLA Affairs Minister in South Sudan’s interim government, Dominic Dim Deng, was killed together with 19 other military personnel when their plane crashed between Wau and Juba, Southern Sudan.


A military aircraft crashed at Aweel Airport, South Sudan, in February, 2006 killing 20 army personnel.


A private aircraft carrying former First Vice President John Garang back from Uganda crashed near the border in July 2005, killing him and all other people on board.


July 2003 incident of the Sudan Airways Boeing that crashed near Port Sudan is deemed the worst of Sudanese air catastrophes ever. In that accident 115 passengers on board were killed, including a provincial commissioner, a senior army officer and an MP.

The only survivor was an infant of less than one year who was entangled in a tree branch as the plane went down towards the ground. The baby had to be flown to London for surgery paid for by U.A.E President, the late Sheikh Zayid Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. The baby had lost one leg and sustained severe burns and, most sadly, lost his mother who died in the crash. Another Sudanese family lost five of its members in the crash. Seventeen kids and six foreigners were also among the dead. The plane was on internal flight between Khartoum and Port Sudan.

In November 13 passengers were killed when an Antonov cargo plane imploded as it tried to land at Wau Airport, Bahr Al-Ghazal , South Sudan.


A Sudanese cargo plane rammed into a residential area in Bangui in the Central African Republic killing 23 passengers in addition to its crew.


An army jet veered from tarmac in Adar yale (South Sudan) in April due to a sand storm. Assistant Defense Minister, Colonel Ibrahim Shamseddin together with 14 senior army officers were killed


More than 50 persons including six army officers were killed in Kasala, eastern Sudan, in June after their military plane crashed due to engine failure.


Another of the most unforgettable air crashes was the one in which the country lost its First Vice President, Lt General Al-Zubair Mohammad Salih and some other celebrities. General Salih and entourage were on February 10, 1998 on their way back from al-Nasir town in South Sudan when their Antonov fell down in River Sobat. Along with Salih, 20 other passengers on board were killed, including South Sudanese Commander Arok Ton Arok, Engineer Mohammad Ahmad Taha (a defector from the Sudanese Communist Party who joined the government) and leading Islamist Abdulsalam Suleiman.


Some 70 people were killed when the SPLA fired a Sam 7 missile at a Sudan Airways passenger plane upon take off from Malakal Airport in Southern Sudan.

This alarming situation poses questions about their causes and whether these causes are financial, technical or due to human error, inadequate skill or lack of maintenance.

While the Sudanese authorities blamed lack of spare parts due to US sanctions for July 2003 Boeing crash, in which 115 people died, some experts attribute most of these accidents to human error. They said the increase in the number of private local carriers had proportionally raised the number of accidents. They urged the government to examine the efficiency of these private sector companies and check the qualifications of foreign pilots working with them.

Some other experts blame the aging Russian Antonov and Ilyushin planes for many of these local accidents in Sudan and around the world.

Whatever the causes, the recurring Sudanese aviation accidents should be probed very seriously and urgently by the government to prevent such huge losses of lives and property.




Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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