A transport plane of the United Nations, coming from Bamako with 11 people on board, made a difficult landing at Gao airport, in Mali. All occupants were injured, including one seriously.
The UTAir Cargo Antonov An-74TK-100 freighter, registered RA-74044, was operating for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). It carried out flight UNO52P from Bamako Airport (BKO) to Gao Airport (GAQ) with seven crew members and four United Nations personnel on board.
According to local reports, the aircraft carried out an emergency landing, which resulted in the aircraft exiting the runway into soft ground. While all the other occupants suffered minor injuries, the pilot was more substantially wounded.
Pictures show the fuselage of the freighter sunk into the mud. However, Gao airport administration said the weather could not be blamed for the incident. An investigation was open to establish the circumstances of the event.
The Antonov An-74 is an updated version of the An-72, easily recognizable thanks to its two engines mounted on top of its swept-back wing. That design specificity gives the aircraft improved short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities that are particularly appreciated in a contested environment. RA-74044 belongs to UTair Cargo, a subsidiary of the Russian airline UTair, and was chartered by the United Nations.
The MINUSMA was deployed in July 2013 following a resolution of the United Nations Security Council. With more than 13,000 peacekeepers from over 30 countries involved, the mission aims at stabilizing the north of Mali, currently held by jihadist groups. It operates alongside the French Operation Barkhane and the G5 Sahel organization that regroups forces from Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Chad.