An-26 cargo aircraft crashes into sea off Gabon, crew survive


An Antonov An-26 cargo aircraft operated on behalf of DHL crashed into the sea near Gabon’s capital of Libreville yesterday, but all four crew survived the accident.

AFP quotes Serge Thomas-Ebenbge from the National Civil Aviation Agency as saying that witnesses saw the aircraft flying with difficulty for a dozen kilometres before it crashed into the sea at around 10:30 am local time.

The aircraft was operated by Solenta Aviation Gabon, on behalf of the DHL Aviation express courier service. It had been flying between Libreville to Port Gentil, Gabon’s oil centre to the southwest.

Gabon’s Transport Ministry said the plane had been given permission to land in the capital when the pilot warned of a hydraulic problem, AP reports.
“There were four people on board. All four are alive, they were taken out of the plane with the help of emergency services,” Moise Dabany from the airport safety services told AFP. “The four are in hospital, wounded,” he said.

Deutsche Post DHL spokesperson Bea Garcia said that, “All individuals on board escaped serious injury and there was no cargo on board”.

There was one passenger from Gabon on board and one Bulgarian and two Ukrainian crewmembers in the aircraft at the time of the crash.

The government said it would open an investigation into the accident, and ban flights involving An-26s until further notice.
“Solenta Aviation Gabon and DHL are cooperating with the Gabon CAA in its investigation into the incident,” Garcia said.

The aircraft did not ditch in deep water and parts of the aircraft remain above water, such as the tail and wings.