Hewa Bora Airways Flight 952 crash
Hewa Bora Airways Flight 952 (EO952/ALX952) was a passenger flight which crashed at Bangoka International Airport, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 8 July 2011. Seventy-four of the 118 people onboard died. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 727-30, was operating Hewa Bora Airways' domestic scheduled service from N'djili Airport, Kinshasa, to Bangoka. It crashed about 200 m (220 yd) from the airport, amid bad weather.
The aircraft involved was a Boeing 727-30, manufacturer's serial number 18933, registration 9Q-COP. The aircraft had entered service with Lufthansa on 29 September 1965 and had served with Condor, Jet Aviation, Jatayu Airlines, and the Government of Benin before it was acquired by Hewa Bora Airways in April 2010.
In 2004, the aircraft was operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo under the Swaziland registration 3D-BOC. That registration was cancelled in 2005 and the aircraft was then operated under the São Tomé and Príncipe register as S9-DBM, but without correct documentation and not officially on that register. In 2010, the aircraft was registered to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as 9Q-COP. At the time of the accident, it had flown for 52,613 hours.
At about 15:00 local time, Flight 952 crashed about 200 m (220 yd) from Bangoka International Airport, Kisangani, as it attempted to land during weather conditions that included heavy rain and limited visibility. Thunderstorms were reported in the area. A total of 112 passengers were on board, as well as six crew members.
Initial reports said between 50 and 127 people were killed, but the airline later refused to give specific numbers because rescue operations were still ongoing. It only said there were both fatalities and survivors. The number of survivors was put at between 42 and 53. According to Mario-Real Shutsha, Congo's secretary general, a total of 74 people have died, and 44 have survived. An early investigation showed that five victims were not originally included on the plane's manifest, with the CEO of Hewa Bora Airways, Stavros Papaioannou, stating that some people were using tickets registered under other names to fly.
An investigation was opened into the accident. A preliminary report was issued which did not include data gained from the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) or flight data recorder (FDR). It found that the captain of the aircraft, who had been qualified to fly the MD-82 and other DC-9 variants, was not qualified to fly a 727, and the tower controllers were not licenced. The tower gave false weather information to the flight crew, which also misjudged the weather. The airport was found to be lacking security plans. Radio communications from the control tower were not recorded, as both recorders were broken. The American National Transportation Safety Board assisted in the investigation, handling the retrieval of the data from the CVR and FDR.
The Ministry of Transport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo suspended Hewa Bora Airways Air Operator's Certificate, citing repeated accidents suffered by the airline, including the accidents suffered by Flight 122 on 15 April 2008 and an accident involving Flight 601 at N'djili Airport on 21 June 2010.
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