An Antonov An-26 flown by Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee crashed on the evening of March 13th upon landing at Almaty Airport. The crash claimed the lives of four of the six people onboard. The cause of the crash is currently under investigation.
Four killed, two survive
On Saturday, March 13th, at approximately 17:20 local time, an Antonov An-26 crashed upon landing. The aircraft was used by Kazakh border guards belonging to the country’s National Security Committee.
The aircraft had flown from Kazakhstan’s capital of Nur-Sultan to Almaty. Aviation24.be notes that airport officials posted a message on the Almaty Airport Facebook page, which includes the following:
“An alert was immediately announced and emergency services went to the scene. According to preliminary information, the aircraft crashed near the runway threshold.”
The crash claimed the lives of four of the six people onboard the twin-turboprop. RT reports that the two survivors were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries.
Eyewitness footage embedded below shows smoke billowing from the aircraft with emergency services responding to the accident.
— Breaking Aviation News & Videos (@breakingavnews) March 13, 2021
About the Antonov An-26
According to Antonov, the An-26 is a light transport aircraft modified from the Аn-24RТ. It differs from the AN-24RT in that it has an extended fuselage tail section with a large cargo door and pressure ramp.
The aircraft normally requires a crew of five and has a capacity of 40 passengers. The airplane is powered by two turboprop engines, weighs 15 tons, and has a range of 1,100 km when fully loaded.
Antonov notes that the original design of the ramp door ensures quick loading and unloading operations as well as the transportation of large-size cargo and equipment. The ramp door also allows for the parachute dropping of cargo and people.
With these capabilities, the aircraft was purchased mainly for military use. The following groups are just some customers that ordered the aircraft while it was in production:
- Czechoslovak Air Force
- Bulgarian Air Force
- Hungarian Air Force
- Romanian Air Force
The An-26 was manufactured at Antonov’s facilities in Kyiv (Ukraine), with a total of 1,398 units built from 1969 to 1986.
An alarming safety record
Since the 1980s, there have been nearly 30 An-26 crashes logged. Sadly, the majority of these crashes resulted in fatalities with few survivors. While some of these crashes occurred after take-off, many of them took place during landing.
The most recent incident recorded took place in Ukraine on September 25th, 2020. In this incident, an An-26 military plane carrying Air Force cadets during a training flight crashed and immediately caught fire in Kharkiv Oblast. Of the 27 people onboard, 25 were killed immediately, and one died in hospital.
Just prior to this, we have reported on an An-26 cargo plane that had crashed after taking off from Juba (South Sudan) in August 2020. The freighter aircraft was operating a charter service between Juba and Aweil. It was reported that as many as 17 people were killed in this incident.
Looking at the An-26s long list of deadly incidents, it’s worrisome that some government forces and civil operators continue to use the aircraft.