South Sudan bans Antonov An-26 flights after propeller falls mid-air

Igor Dvurekov / Wikimedia Commons

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of South Sudan decided to temporarily ban all airlines in the country from operating a twin-engined turboprop civilian and military aircraft, the Antonov An-26.

On May 21, 2021, the authority ordered air carriers to stop operating the aircraft while the government investigates the incident where a cargo plane made an emergency landing at Juba International Airport (JUB), South Sudan. However, the CAA made an exception for the AN-26 aircraft, registered as UR-UZI, which is operating for the United Nations missions in the country. 

“I issued that order after the incident of that Antonov AN-26 propeller which is said to have fallen off,” David Subek, the Head of the country’s CAA told local media. 

“They have to immediately cease operation until further investigation is done,” he added.

The incident occurred on May 20, 2021, when the Antonov AN-26 cargo aircraft of an undisclosed company departed from JUB airport and was supposed to land at Paloich Airport (HGI) in the Upper Nile state, but returned to the airport of departure with just one propeller. 

According to local media, the left-hand propeller of the plane detached from its body and fell on the ground near the highway connecting Juba and Bor. Eyewitnesses said they reportedly noticed a single propeller falling on the ground near engineers working at the Juba-Bor road construction site. 

The Director of Juba International Airport Kur Kuol confirmed to the media that the plane was supposed to land at HGI airport but due to the propeller loss it made an instant U-shaped turn and landed at Juba with no further incidents reported. The Head of JUB airport doubted that the maintenance team did not check the aircraft properly before the takeoff.






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