SAAF C212 damaged in crash-landing at Lohatlha

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A South African Air Force (SAAF) C212 light transport aircraft has been damaged in a landing accident while taking part in Exercise Vuk’uhlome 2023 at the SA Army Combat Training Centre in Lohatlha.

The aircraft (8011) flew members of the media from Air Force Base Waterkloof to Dippies Airfield at Lohatlha on Wednesday morning before dropping paratroopers as part of the Vuk’uhlome Distinguished Visitors Day demonstration.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in a statement said the incident happened as the aircraft was landing following its manouevres for the exercise.

Members of the South African Medical Health Service were swiftly on site to provide the necessary medical support and all members on board the aircraft were confirmed safe, as there were no injuries sustained, said Director Defence Corporate Communication, Brigadier General Andries Mokoena Mahapa.

He added that a board of inquiry will be convened to determine the cause of the incident as well as the damage to the aircraft.

It is unclear what caused the incident, with speculation of either an engine issue or undercarriage collapse.

The SAAF’s 44 Squadron only had one of three C212s serviceable prior to the accident. In September, Armscor reported that a maintenance contract with Airbus was in progress and spares and repairs provided to the SAAF to make the fleet serviceable.

The SAAF inherited four C212s in 1994 from the air wings of the former Bophuthatswana, Transkei and Venda states. Registrations are 8020, 8021, 8010 and 8011.

The fleet has suffered a number of incidents over the years. 8021 was damaged in October 2008 after getting caught in a gust of wind on takeoff from Air Force Base Bloemspruit, and in January 2013, 8020 landed heavily and ran off the runway at Bloemspruit. On 12 May this year, 8010 was landing at AFB Waterkloof when the brakes locked and the aircraft ran off the side of the runway. Damage was caused to the right wingtip, but the aircraft was subsequently repaired.