2007 Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76 crash

2007 Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76 crash

Infobox Airliner accident

Image caption = An Il-76 at Balad Air Base, Iraq
Name = 2007 TransAVIAexport Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 airplane crash
Date = March 23, 2007
Type = Suspected shootdown
Site = Mogadishu
Fatalities = 11
Injuries = 0
Aircraft Type = Ilyushin Il-76TD [http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20070323-0 accident synopsis] from the Aviation Safety Network - Obtained April 20, 2007.]
Operator = TransAVIAexport Airlines
Tail Number = EW-78849
Passengers = 4
Crew = 7
Survivors = 0

On March 23, 2007, a TransAVIAexport Airlines Ilyushin Il-76 airplane crashed in outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia, during the 2007 Battle of Mogadishu. The plane was carrying repair equipment, and had brought humanitarian aid. The aircraft is thought to have been shot down, but Somalia insisted the crash was accidental. All 11 people on board died in the crash.

Flight overview

The aircraft involved was an Ilyushin Il-76, a large Russian-built cargo aircraft, powered by four turbofan engines. Il-76s are 47 metres long, have the capacity to carry a payload of up to 45 tonnes of cargo, and require a minimum crew of six. Registered as EW-78849, the aircraft involved in the crash had been on a chartered cargo flight carrying equipment to Ugandan AMISOM peacekeepers in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.cite news |author= Mohamed Olad Hassan |title= Cargo Plane Is Shot Down in Somalia |url= http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/23/AR2007032300887.html |work= The Washington Post |publisher= Associated Press] All of the crew members were Belarusian. [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article2390823.ece Missile 'brought down aid flight' with no survivors] - "The Independent" - Obtained March 25, 2007.]

Previous shootdown attempt

Four of the personnel onboard the accident aircraft were engineers that had worked on repairing another Il-76, [http://www.news24.com/News24/Africa/News/0,9294,2-11-1447_2088413,00.html 'Somali plane was shot down'] - News24.com - Obtained March 25, 2007.] which had been the subject of another attempted shootdown 14 days prior.cite news |title= All 11 dead in plane shot down over Mogadishu |url= http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=3617&sectionid=3510205 |publisher= Press TV] In that incident, an Il-76 which was carrying Ugandan peacekeepers and made a successful emergency landing after being struck by a rocket propelled grenade. Somali officials claimed both aircraft incidents occurred due to technical failures rather than armed attacks. [ [http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1077076.html 11 crew of cargo plane shot down in Somali capital die] - "The Star Tribune" - Obtained March 25, 2007.] Much of the equipment on board the lost aircraft was for repairing the aircraft damaged earlier, the rest of it being humanitarian aid. The aircraft was still crippled at the time of the second Il-76s departure, and TransAVIAexport were considering whether to cannibalise it for re-usable parts.

There have been reports of unverified claims circulating on the Internet that this first aircraft had in fact been carrying a secret load of infantry fighting vehicles for Ugandan troops. [http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Belarusian_Plane_in_Somalia_was_transporting_armaments.shtml Belarusian Plane in Somalia was transporting armaments?] - "Garowe Online" - Obtained April 23, 2007.]


The aircraft had just taken off from Mogadishu International Airport. According to Somali Interior Minister Mohamed Mahamud Guled; "The plane took off at around five o'clock and as soon as it reached convert|10000|ft|m altitude, the pilot reported an engine problem in engine number two and said he would turn back to the airport," [http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN431937.html Belarus says plane shot down in Somalia] - Reuters - Obtained March 25, 2007.] He was in the process of attempting to return to the airport for an emergency landing,cite news |title= Somalia: Further details on Mogadishu plane crash |url= http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne2614.htm |publisher=Shabelle Media Network] when one wing explodedcite news |title= Plane crashes in Mogadishu, Somalia |url= http://www.alaskareport.com/z45560.htm |publisher=AlaskaReport News] and separated from the aircraft, falling into the Indian Ocean, while the rest of the plane flew, on fire, along the beach at a low altitude before crashing.cite news|title= 'Missile hits plane' in Somalia |url= http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1880381.htm |work= ABC News Online |publisher= Reuters]

The accident occurred in an area called Kuluweyne, with the main part of the wreckage landing near a farmer's hamlet. A Reuters reporter who visited the scene reported seeing crushed animals, four corpses still on the ground, and wreckage spread across an area the size of four football fields. Rescuers found ten of the crew members dead at the scene, and an eleventh alive and wandering around the crash site. He was transported to a hospital where he died the same day.cite news |title= All 11 crew were killed when cargo plane was shot down in Somali capital, officials say |url= http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/03/24/africa/AF-GEN-Somalia.php |work= International Herald Tribune |publisher=Associated Press] Operations at the airport were not affected by the crash, with Somali Prime Minister Ali Gedi and his delegation departing as scheduled from the airport the next day, destined for the Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.

Alleged shootdown

A civilian who witnessed the crash claims he heard what he believed to be a surface-to-air missile being fired immediately before the accident. "I saw with my eyes when the plane, which was flying low-level, was hit by a rocket and then fell to the ground," Shabelle reporter Maryan Hashi said." There have been reports that the projectile came from a small boat,cite news |title= Missile attack on plane kills 11 Belarusian |url= http://story.malaysiasun.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/b8de8e630faf3631/id/236720/cs/1/ |work= The Malaysia Sun |publisher=Indo-Asian News Service] and others that it came from a nearby farmers' market. [http://caribjournal.com/2007/03/24/somalia-cargo-plane-shot-down-in-mogadishu/ Somalia: Cargo Plane Shot Down In Mogadishu] - CaribJournal - Obtained March 25, 2007.] The plane appears to have been struck by the missile at an altitude of height of about 500 feet (150 m).


Crew members who were killed: [http://byavia.net/78849/index.php TransAVIAexport official memorial website] ] [http://www.charter97.org/eng/news/2007/04/02/il Hundreds of Belarusians pay a last tribute to crew members of IL-76 aircraft] - Charter97.org - Obtained April 28, 2007.]

*Igor Leonidovich Vashkevich – Commander of the air squadron
*Aleksandr Viktorovich Gomanykov – Co-pilot
*Gennady Aleksandrovich Trashkov – Navigator
*Ivan Ivanovich Gab – Onboard engineer
*Oleg Viktorovich Kanunnikov – Radio operator
*Aleksandr Ivanovich Zernin – Senior load attendant
*Igor Mikhailovich Gres – Load attendant
*Oleg Yevgeniushovich Bondaronok – Aircraft technician
*Mikhail Ivanovich Baglov – Aircraft engineer
*Dmitry Sergeevich Nosnikov – Aircraft technician
*Artem Borisovich Sychugov – Aircraft technician

Reactions and aftermath

The Somali authorities originally stated that the cause of the crash was unknown, and have since maintained that the crash occurred as a result of an accident, and that it had not been shot down. However, while not claiming responsibility for this specific attack, an Islamist web site published claims that the plane was indeed struck by a missile. Within 24 hours of the crash, Belarusian officials confirmed that the plane had been shot down.cite news|title= Belarus says missile caused Somali crash |url= http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/international/ticker/detail/Belarus_says_missile_caused_Somali_crash.html?siteSect=143&sid=7652398&cKey=1174734460000 |work= SRG SSR idée suisse |publisher= Reuters] Somali soldiers began to guard the area against interference. TransAVIAexport suspended all flights to Somalia as a result of the incident, [http://law.by/work/EnglPortal.nsf/0/1A0845DFC7617331C22572AA00445C38?OpenDocument Transaviaexport suspends flights to Somalia citing war reasons] - "The National Legal Internet Portal of the Rebublic of Belarus" - Obtained April 23, 2007.] and Belarus advised its airlines not to enter Somalian airspace. [http://www.interfax.ru/e/B/politics/28.html?menu=1&id_issue=11699071 Belarusian aviation authorities advise airlines not to fly to Somalia] - "Interfax" - Obtained April 23, 2007.]

On April 2, 2007, funeral services were held in Belarus for the victims, with hundreds attending. Eight of the victims were buried in a single lot at Maskouskiya cemetery, the rest being buried in Vitsebsk. [http://www.charter97.org/eng/news/2007/04/02/il Hundreds of Belarusians pay a last tribute to crew members of IL-76 aircraft] - charter97.org - Obtained April 23, 2007.]

An investigation has been launched by the Belarusian transport prosecutor’s office for violations of Article 126 of the Criminal Code, which concerns international terrorism.


External links

* [http://www.shabelle.net/news/ne2619.htm Shabelle.net image gallery of crash site] Caution: this link contains graphic images
* [http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?regsearch=EW-78849&distinct_entry=true Pre-accident images of the aircraft]
* [http://www.charter97.org/eng/news/2007/04/02/il charter97.org Article with images from the funeral services]

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