SAAF aircraft involved in landing accident


A South African Air Force (SAAF) transport aircraft was involved in a landing incident at Bloemfontein on Thursday morning.

The CASA 212 light transport aircraft, operated by 44 Squadron, was involved in a “hard landing” at AFB Bloemspruit at approximately 10h30 on Thursday morning. AFB Bloemspruit shares a runway with Bram Fischer International Airport (Bloemfontein).

It is understood that the aircraft landed heavily on its nose wheel and thereafter ran off the runway, coming to rest with its left wingtip in the veldt. There were five crewmembers on board. An Emergency Medical Team was desptached to the scene but no injuries were reported, the Department of Defence said.

The aircraft was participating in a scheduled paratrooping exercise at the time.

A preliminary investigation has been established to investigated the cause of the incident.

Four CASA 212s are currently in the SAAF inventory, inherited in 1994 from the air wings of the former Bophuthatswana (1, 1985), Transkei (2, 1986) and Venda (2, 1988).

The accident marks the SAAF’s third incident in the last three months. On December 5 eleven people died when their 35 Squadron C-47TP crashed in bad weather in the Drakensberg mountains. The aircraft was on a routine shuttle run from AFB Waterkloof near Pretoria to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. Four of the crew were from 35 Squadron, based at AFB Ysterplaat in the Cape.

On November 7, a C-47TP Dakota of 35 Squadron was involved in a landing accident at Mthatha Airport, when it bounced on landing and left the runway. Damage included a torn-off main undercarriage, bent propeller and damaged engine and wing. Fortunately, none of the 16 passengers on board was injured.