UPDATE 27-09-2023, 16:11 (UTC +3): Footage has emerged online of the moment an Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft crashed at Gao International Airport (GAQ), in Mali, on September 23, 2023.
The video shows the Il-76 attempting to land at Gao Airport. The aircraft is seen touching down rather late on runway 06L. It then overruns the runway at high speed, collapses, and bursts into flames.
2023-09-23: Video footage emerged of the crashed Ilyushin IL-76 (TZ-98T) at Gao Airport, Mali. The aircraft is seen landing on runway 06 at overrunning the end of it at high speed until it broke into parts and caught fire. pic.twitter.com/pDo7lL9IwT— JACDEC (@JacdecNew) September 27, 2023
Very little is known about the circumstances of this incident, which, as can be assessed from the available footage, has resulted in the total loss of the airframe.
The Il-76 that crashed was reportedly registered as TZ-98T. Some reports have claimed the aircraft was linked to, or even owned by, the infamous Russian private military company Wagner Group, which has gained international notoriety because of its role in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its murky role in several conflicts in Africa. The same sources report that the aircraft had recently been transferred to the Malian Air Force, for which it was carrying a supply flight.
The fate of the aircraft’s crew is still unknown, though the footage of the crash leaves little hope for survival. It is unclear how many people were on board the aircraft.
On September 9, 2023, in the same area, Malian government forces lost a Sukhoi Su-25 combat aircraft in unclear circumstances as it, reportedly, returned from a ground attack mission against rebel forces of the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) in which it may have sustained damage.
This was the second aircraft of the type lost in the area in a matter of months and it was the last remaining Su-25 in Mali’s air fleet.