Sudan Airways Flight 139
Sudan Airways Flight 139 refers to a passenger flight that crashed on 8 July 2003 at Port Sudan. The aircraft was due to operate a domestic scheduled Port Sudan–Khartoum passenger service; some 15 minutes after takeoff it experienced a loss of power in one of its engines that prompted the flightcrew to return to the airport of departure for an emergency landing. In doing so, the pilots missed the airport runway and the airplane descended until it hit the ground, disintegrating after the impact, claiming the lives of all 117 occupants aboard the aircraft.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a Boeing 737-2J8C, c/n 21169, registered ST-AFK. Powered with two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-7 engines, it had its maiden flight on 29 August 1975, and was delivered new to Sudan Airways on 15 September 1975. At the time of the accident the aircraft was 27 years and 313 days old.
Description of the accident
The airplane had reportedly departed Port Sudan at 4:00 am (UTC+3), bound for Khartoum. The pilot radioed about ten minutes after take-off, informing about a problem with one of the engines and that he would fly the aircraft back to the airport of departure to make an emergency landing. However, the plane plummeted into the ground before returning to the airfield and immediately caught fire.
All but one of the 117 occupants of the aircraft —most of them Sudanese— perished in the accident. There were three Indians, a Briton, a Chinese, an Emirati, and an Ethiopian among the dead passengers as well. Initially, the crash had a child as a sole survivor, who later died from the wounds he received.
Then Sudan foreign minister Mustafa Osman Ismail raised the trade embargo imposed by the U.S. government in 1997 as a contribution to the accident, as he described the company was unable to get spare parts for the maintenance of the airline's fleet because of that sanctions. The aircraft involved in the accident, in particular, hadn't been serviced for years.
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