A Valan International Cargo Charter Antonov An-26 has crashed into the sea off the coast of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, during bad weather. The aircraft was operating a charter freight flight for the French Army. Four of the ten people onboard are reported to have died in the incident.
The aircraft was on final approach to Runway 03 at Abidjan-Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport (ABJ / DIAP), at around 09:45 local time (09:45 UTC), as a thunderstorm was passing over the area. Presumably, due to strong gusting winds, the aircraft lost control and impacted the coastline, around 650 meters/2130 feet from the end of the runway.
Initial reports indicated the aircraft may have overrun the runway on takeoff or crashed during initial climb out from Abidjan Airport. The World of Aviation did report this initially, but this report has now been heavily updated to contain the correct information.
Later emergency services reported the aircraft was arriving from Burkina Faso. It was approaching from the seaside in thunderstorms, gusting winds and lightning and ended up in the waters ahead of the runway.
The aircraft’s departure airport is thought to be Ouagadougou Airport (OUA / DFFD), Burkina Faso.
On board were six Moldovan crew members and four French army personnel, part of the anti-terrorist operation Barkhane. The four Moldovan crew members are reported to have died in the accident, while the remaining six crew members all received injuries.
Lt. Villain, a spokesman for French armed forces in Ivory Coast said the aircraft was carrying military cargo. The injured have been transported to Abidjan’s Port-Bouet camp for treatment, he added.
According to local news site Ivoire Matin, one person was taken into custody after the crash. It is unclear if they are a member of the crew.
The aircraft involved in the incident was Antonov An-26-100 ER-AVB (MSN 3204), built in 1975. The airframe is one of three An-26 aircraft that Valan International Cargo Charter operate, as reported by the Moldovan CAA.
As reported above, a thunderstorm was passing over the airport at the time of the incident. Here are the METAR weather reports for this time period:
07:00 UTC / 07:00 local time:
DIAP 140700Z VRB02KT 7000 SCT012 OVC040 26/25 Q1012 TEMPO 4000 RA
07:30 UTC / 07:30 local time:
DIAP 140730Z 08003KT 050V140 6000 SCT011 OVC030 26/25 Q1013 TEMPO 4000 RA
07:35 UTC / 07:35 local time:
DIAP 140735Z VRB05KT 4000 -RA SCT011 OVC030 25/24 Q1013 TEMPO 2500 RA
08:00 UTC / 08:00 local time:
DIAP 140800Z 06016KT 4000 -RA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 24/23 Q1013 TEMPO 2500 TSRA
08:03 UTC / 08:03 local time:
DIAP 140803Z 06016KT 4000 -TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 TEMPO 2500 TSRA
08:30 UTC / 08:30 local time:
DIAP 140830Z 06012KT 4000 -TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1014 TEMPO 2500 TSRA
08:38 UTC / 08:38 local time:
DIAP 140838Z 03010KT 2700 TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 TEMPO 1300 TSRA
08:57 UTC / 08:57 local time:
DIAP 140857Z 03008KT 6000 -TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 RERA TEMPO 4000 TSRA
09:00 UTC / 09:00 local time:
DIAP 140900Z 03008KT 6000 -TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 RERA TEMPO 4000 TSRA
09:30 UTC / 09:30 local time:
DIAP 140930Z 04005KT 6000 -TSRA SCT005 SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 TEMPO 4000 TSRA
09:52 UTC / 09:52 local time:
DIAP 140952Z 04003KT 340V070 7000 TS SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 BECMG NSW
10:00 UTC / 10:00 local time:
DIAP 141000Z 04003KT 340V070 7000 TS SCT011 FEW020CB OVC030 23/22 Q1013 BECMG NSW