No damaged was sustained when an SA Air Force (SAAF) cargo aircraft went off a taxiway this past week.
A photo of the CASA C212 light transport aircraft (serial 8010) stopped partly off a narrow taxiway at Tempe, Bloemfontein, with its starboard undercarriage stuck in the ground, began circulating on Monday. The port undercarriage is still on the narrow taxiway while the threshold of a runway can be seen in the background, indicating the aircraft may have just landed and turned onto the taxiway when the incident occurred. A large puddle of water is seen at the intersection of the runway and taxiway.
defenceWeb understands heavy rain caused water puddles which the crew could not see from the cockpit. The aircraft subsequently got stuck in soft ground. Reliable sources say the aircraft was pulled back onto the taxiway, the mud washed off and the aircraft was inspected and no damage found. It was subsequently returned to flight.
Despite repeated requests, the SAAF has yet to confirm the incident, but indicated a press release would be provided once final approval had been obtained. Thus, the exact date and location of the runway excursion is unknown.
The CASA C21M2-200 is operated by 44 Squadron based at AFB Waterkloof and was originally flown by the Bophuthatswana Air Force prior to being incorporated into the SAAF in 1994. It would appear the aircraft is not substantially damaged.
The SAAF inherited four C212s in 1994 from the air wings of the former Bophuthatswana, Transkei and Venda. One (8021) was damaged in October 2008 after it was caught in a gust of wind on take-off from AFB Bloemspruit, while 8020 landed heavily on its nose wheel and ran off the runway at AFB Bloemspruit in January 2013, leaving just two C212s (8011 and 8010) flying.
In May 2017, it was reported that 8020 may be under repair for re-entry into service.
Note: This story has been updated with more information.