Senegal | The runway excursion of a Boeing operated by Air Senegal leaves 11 injured

(Dakar) Diass international airport, near Dakar, was reopened to traffic on Thursday a few hours after a Boeing operated by Air Senegal leaving for Bamako left the runway, which left eleven people injured, announced the airport manager.

The Boeing 737/300 chartered from a private company, Transair, “exited the runway this Thursday, May 9, 2024 around 1 a.m.,” according to the airport manager, LAS.

The incident left “four [blessés] serious” among the 11, out of a total of 78 passengers, specifying that six passengers were admitted for observation in the airport medical services.

At midday, the airport manager, LAS, made up of a trio including the Turkish group Limak, AIBD (public) and Summa, another Turkish company, announced the reopening of the closed airport in the aftermath of the incident.

“Airport operations have resumed normally,” the manager indicated in his press release.

Images shot during the night and published Thursday by the media and on social networks show the aircraft immobilized on land, overgrown with grass, with a damaged wing, in the presence of rescuers working in particular around a wounded man. writhing in pain. Smoke and flames are also visible near the aircraft.

“Move forward!” Please move forward, gentlemen! », urges a lady to people near the plane whose engine noise is heard, inviting them to leave the scene of the incident, while passengers run out of the plane, on one of these videos authenticated by the AFP.

“What’s happening to us here is crazy,” says one passenger while another, amid lamentations, exclaims: “Al hamdoulilah (Thank God in Arabic).”

“There was a start of fire on part of the aircraft which was then extinguished,” an airport official told AFP, without further details.

In addition to the passengers, the plane had on board “two pilots and four members of the cabin crew”, said the Ministry of Transport in a separate press release which spoke of 79 passengers and ten injured, including a pilot.

Open investigation

The manager further indicated that “the exact circumstances of the incident remain to be determined, but an investigation is already underway to establish the causes of the runway excursion.”

“Aviation specialists, as well as representatives of the airline concerned (Air Senegal), are on site to closely examine the flight data and interview the crew members,” he added.

“The plane, at the end of the runway, was unable to take off. The pilot chose to [le] take it out onto the field next door. Personally, I think he handled the situation well. The plane is not too damaged,” LAS Director General Askan Demir told the press.

The Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) of Senegal has “opened an investigation to determine the causes of the accident,” said the Ministry of Air Transport in its press release.

This incident occurs while the company Air Senegal has, for several months, been the target of criticism about the quality of its service. Passengers regularly complain about delays experienced by domestic and international flights of the company controlled by the Senegalese state and which began operations in May 2018.

For its part, Boeing is also going through a difficult time after several incidents, including two this week, and the launch of an investigation targeting three of its commercial aircraft models by the American Civil Aviation Regulatory Agency (FAA). .

On Tuesday, an Air France 787-900 which was operating a Paris-Seattle flight was diverted to a Canadian airport following “the appearance of a hot smell felt in the cabin”.

Then, on Wednesday, a Boeing 767 freighter from the Fedex company landed on its fuselage at Istanbul airport, its front landing gear not having opened. The spectacular incident, however, did not cause any casualties.

Air Sénégal was created just after the bankruptcy in April 2016 of Sénégal Airlines, which itself replaced, in 2009, Air Sénégal International, owned by the Senegalese and Moroccan states.

The launch of this company is one of the three parts of a plan aimed at making Dakar a regional air “hub”, with the international airport, inaugurated in December 2017, and the rehabilitation of provincial airports.

Blaise Diagne airport, located about fifty kilometers from Dakar, which bears the name of the first African deputy elected to the French Parliament (1872-1934), replaces the Léopold-Sédar-Senghor international airport (AILSS), in the nearby suburbs. of the capital, converted into a military airport.

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