On 15 April 2008, Hewa Bora Airways Flight 122, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51 plane crashed into a residential and market area of Goma of the Democratic Republic of the Congo immediately south of Goma International Airport.[1][2]

Hewa Bora Airways Flight 122
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-51, Swissair AN2144959.jpg
A DC-9-51 similar to the accident aircraft
Failure to take off
Date15 April 2008 (14:45 UTC)
SummaryEngine failure at takeoff and runway overrun into city
SiteGoma International Airport, Democratic Republic of the Congo
1°40′53″S 29°14′22″E / 1.68139°S 29.23944°E / -1.68139; 29.23944Coordinates: 1°40′53″S 29°14′22″E / 1.68139°S 29.23944°E / -1.68139; 29.23944
Total fatalities40
Total injuries111
Aircraft
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas DC-9-51
OperatorHewa Bora Airways
Registration9Q-CHN
Flight originGoma International Airport
StopoverBangoka International Airport
DestinationN'djili Airport
Occupants94
Passengers86
Crew8
Fatalities3
Injuries40
Survivors91 (83 passengers, 8 crew)
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities37
Ground injuries71

BackgroundEdit

The eastern part of the DRC had been war-torn for decades, as various factions sought control of mineral resources. Goma was a center for the air shipping of cassiterite (tin oxide ore) from Nord-Kivu.

The European Union placed all DRC airlines on its List of airlines banned in the EU. HBA has held a single exemption for a single Boeing 767-266ER tail number 9Q-CJD, construction number 193H-1209, but that too had been removed on 11 April 2008. Very similar crashes in the DRC the previous October in the capital, Kinshasa and in 1996 also came down in residential or market areas. Because the DRC has so little passable roadway, most freight is moved by air[3] and markets are common near airstrips.

HBA operates a number of different aircraft types, none of them modern. This aircraft was 31 years old.[4]

Goma is on the volcanically active Great African Rift Valley. One volcano, Nyiragongo, is so close that its January 2002 eruption destroyed the north end of runway 18/36, leaving just 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) for aircraft operations.[5] Goma International is at 1,551 metres (5,089 ft) elevation, and the mid-afternoon temperature is about 22 °C (72 °F). These factors would reduce the Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW) on the 1995 metre runway from 55 tonnes (121,000 lb) to less than 45 tonnes (99,000 lb).[6] Another report states that only 1600 to 1800 m of the runway was usable.[7] If the lower of these figures were correct, then the corresponding MTOW would be reduced another 3 tonnes (7,000 lb).

CrashEdit

The aircraft was departing Goma bound for Kisangani. According to the director of the RVA, the number one engine caught fire after three hundred meters. The fire developed into an uncontained engine failure.[8] The aircraft subsequently overran the runway and crashed at 14:30 local time (12:30 UTC), impacting concrete homes, shops and market stalls. The crash site was located at the Birere market on l'Avenue du 20 Mai, just beyond the south end of runway 18.[9]

CasualtiesEdit

There were 100 passengers and eight crew members aboard the flight. Three of the passengers and 37 people on the ground were killed in the accident. A further 40 passengers and 71 people on the ground were injured.[3][10][11][12][13][14][15]

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan bishop of Central Africa Ignatios was among the survivors of the crash. [16] Another non-Congolese survivor was an Alcatel engineer named Selami Mordeniz.[17] The fourth day more remains were recovered bringing the toll to 44, while 13 were still missing and 60 were rescued.[18][19] An additional find, coupled with two deaths in hospital, brought the toll to 47 as of 19 April.[20] The Heal Africa clinic treated many of the injured.[21] One of those still missing after 48 hours was an aid worker with the group Médecins Sans Frontières.[22]

ResponseEdit

The airport had no functioning firefighting equipment.[23] The initial crash response involved several international agencies present in Goma, including several organisations of the United Nations (MONUC, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNICEF, World Health Organization) and also Médecins Sans Frontières France and the International Red Cross.[24] Members of the 6th Battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry, Indian Army, who were posted there as part of the North Kivu Brigade of the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC), swung into action to effect a rescue of 6 survivors and retrieve 18 bodies. Indian Army personnel were also involved in initial crowd control and preventing the fire that arose from spreading to thickly populated areas nearby.[25] Both flight recorders were recovered.[26]

One Kinshasa paper, Le phare, reports that airports throughout the country are still using fifty-year-old infrastructure from the Belgian colonial era.[27] Two days after the crash, the DRC government committed to making the runway repairs neglected since January 2002.[5][28] A local human rights organization laid the blame on the DRC government:

The German government sponsored a €15 million, three-year project to rehabilitate the 1100 m of buried runway following the Hewa Bora crash, but that work had been suspended when another aircraft, operated by CAA (Compagnie Africaine d'Aviation) overran onto the lava in November 2009.[29][30]

The World Bank released US$52 million in 2015 to complete the work.[31]

InvestigationEdit

In their 2011 report to Congress, the NTSB classified this accident as a major ongoing investigation in which they were assisting the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[32]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Barber, Kari (15 April 2008). "More Than 70 Killed in Eastern DRC Plane Crash". VOANews.com. Dakar: Voice of America. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  2. ^ Schwarz, Naomi (15 April 2008). "Plane crash in Congo kills at least 33". Reuters. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  3. ^ a b Abawi, Atia (15 April 2008). "Plane crashes into African marketplace". CNN.com. CNN. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  4. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (15 April 2008). "Hewa Bora DC-9 crashes in Congolese town". Flight. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  5. ^ a b "In pictures: Volcano wreaks havoc". BBC News. 19 January 2002. Retrieved 15 May 2008."Aéroport de Goma, le gouvernement s'engage à réhabiliter la piste d'atterrissage" (in French). Radio Okapi. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  6. ^ "Section 3.0 Airplane Performance" (PDF). DC-9 Airplane Characteristics for Airport Planning Rev F. Boeing. May 1984. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 October 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  7. ^ "Crash de Goma: Mwando Nsimba très fâché!" (in French). Kinshasa: Le Phare RDC. 21 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  8. ^ "RVA : " après 300 mètres, le moteur numéro 1 a pris feu, donc, il y avait une explosion ! "" (in French). Radio Okapi. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Goma : ville moitié paralysée, 34 morts et plus d'une centaine de blessés, dernier bilan provisoire du crash" (in French). Radio Okapi. 16 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 May 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  10. ^ "NTSB Identification: DCA08RA050". NTSB. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Dozens Dead After Congo Plane Crash". London: Sky News. 15 April 2008. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  12. ^ "Congolese plane crashes into market town". International Herald Tribune. Paris: The New York Times Company. 15 April 2008. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  13. ^ "20 missing after Congo plane crash". CNN. 16 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  14. ^ Zajtman, Arnaud (16 April 2008). "Death toll unclear after plane crashes in Goma". France 24. Archived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  15. ^ "Goma: 72 heures après le crash, la recherche des corps se poursuit" (in French). Radio Okapi. 17 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  16. ^ Katsikas, N. "Metropolitan Ignatios survives air crash in Congo". Athens News Agency. Retrieved 16 April 2008.
  17. ^ Şeref, Dinçer (20 April 2008). "Ölülerin arasından sürünerek çıktım" (in Turkish). Milliyet. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  18. ^ Associated Press (17 April 2008). "Toll from Congo plane crash rises to 44". International Herald Tribune. Paris: The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on 25 January 2009. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  19. ^ "Crash de Goma: 44 morts, 60 passagers rescapés, 13 disparus" (in French). Radio Okapi. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2008.
  20. ^ "DRC plane crash toll rises to 47". Relief Web. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  21. ^ Kambale, Albert (16 April 2008). "Rescuers scour debris of DR Congo plane crash which killed 40". France24. Retrieved 28 April 2008.[dead link]
  22. ^ "MSF colleague disappears in Goma plane crash". Médecins Sans Frontières. 18 April 2008. Archived from the original on 22 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  23. ^ "A part Ndjili et Loano, nos aéroports dépourvus de services anti incendie" (in French). Kinshasa: Le Phare RDC. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  24. ^ Young, Eoin (16 April 2008). "MONUC expresses its sympathy to the Goma air tragedy victims". MONUC. Archived from the original on 21 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  25. ^ "Indian Army soldiers rescue Congo crash victims". Zeenews. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008. - not a wp:RS
  26. ^ Kaminski-Morrow, David (17 April 2008). "Flight recorders recovered from crashed Hewa Bora Airways DC-9". Flight. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  27. ^ Kimpozo Mayala, Jacques (17 April 2008). "RDC: des aéroports d'une autre époque" (in French). Kinshasa: Le Phare RDC. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  28. ^ "Bousculade pour le deuil de Birere" (in French). Le Phare RDC. 17 April 2008. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2008.
  29. ^ "Goma : sans motifs valables, la réhabilitation de la piste de l'aéroport stoppée depuis 3 semaines" (in French). Radio Okapi. 22 November 2009. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2010.
  30. ^ "Goma : crash d'un avion de CAA, quelques blessés" (in French). Radio Okapi. 19 November 2009.
  31. ^ "La Banque mondiale débloque 52 millions USD pour la réhabilitation de l'aéroport de Goma". Radio Okapi. 17 March 2015.
  32. ^ http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/agency_reports/2011annualreport.pdf

External linksEdit