39 cheat death in Tanzania aircraft mishapBy THE CITIZEN Reporters | Monday, April 9 2012 at 18:33
Thirty five passengers and four crew members aboard a Dash 8-300 aircraft cheated death Monday when the plane skidded off the runway at Tanzania's Kigoma airport while taking off.
The aircraft, belonging to Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL), was en-route to the commercial capital Dar es Salaam via Tabora.
Aviation officials confirmed Monday that the accident, which occurred in the morning, seriously damaged the plane, the one belonging to the national flag carrier.
Acting Kigoma regional police commander Kihenya Kihenya, said all the passengers and crew members were rescued shortly after Flight TC 119 ran aground.
He said the plane skidded off the runway after it failed to takeoff when its tyres got stuck in muddy potholes.
Deputy Transport minister Athuman Mfutakamba told a press conference that the accident occurred at 10.15am local time, adding that no one was hurt.
Mr Mfutakamba said one engine and one wing of the aircraft, piloted by Captain Emmanuel Mshana, were damaged.
Speaking on telephone from the western Lake Tanganyika shore town of Kigoma, the Regional Commissioner, Lieutenant Colonel (rtd) Issa Machibya, said he rushed to the airport on receiving the news about the accident.
“I thanked God when I found that nobody was injured, but the plane was seriously damaged.”
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry of Transport, Mr Omar Chambo, said the government was working to offer assistance to the rescued passengers, who were stranded in Kigoma.
ATCL acting chief executive officer Paul Chizi said aviation experts were expected to travel to Kigoma to assess the extent of damage to the plane.
“I am waiting for a report from the experts, but I am told the plane has been badly damaged,” he said, adding that ATCL was working on the possibility of acquiring a charter plane to ferry the stranded passengers.
The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) chief executive officer, Mr Fadhili Manongi, said the authority had reported the accident to an independent investigation team at the Ministry of Transport.
He said that was the second aviation accident this year, adding that nine such cases were reported in 2010/2011.
A passenger, Bishop Silas Kezakubi of the African Inland Church and his wife Yunis said the plane skidded off the runway as it gained momentum to take off.
“Instead of taking off, the plane came to an abrupt stop before it skidded off the runway,” said Bishop Kezakubi, who was travelling to Tabora.
The MP for Kasulu Rural on the ticket of NCCR-Mageuzi, Ms Agripina Zaituni Buyogera, who was travelling to Dodoma via Dar es Salaam, said she was happy to be alive.
“I don’t want to talk about the accident. I am still in shock,” she said.
Another passenger who identified himself as Mustafa Yamungu, said some passengers had observed that one of the plane’s engine propellers was not working properly.
In 2006, a United Nations Boeing 737 crashed in the same area.
The plane was ferrying supplies for UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.-Reported by Mkinga Mkinga and Fariji Msonsa in Dar es Salaam and Anthony Kayanda in Kigoma.
- Why Obama is visiting Tanzania
- Botswana bans fruit and vegetable imports
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Ethiopia's anti-female cut crusader honoured
- After Berlin Man, two reported cured of HIV in Kenya
- Another politician for the Kenya Cabinet
- Kenyan call girls go high-tech
- Somalia lists 1,345 foreigners in Mogadishu
- Kenya to host AU organs
Beyond the ballot