JUBA, 5 March 2021 – Authorities in South Sudan confimed Wednesday that a small plane had crashed the evening before in its eastern Jonglei State, killing all ten people on board.
South Sudan’s Minister of Transport Madut Biar Yel confirmed the crash which involved a plane belonging to local aviation company, South Supreme Airlines.
The crash happened shortly after take-off from the Pieri Airstrip in Jonglei State, killing eight passengers and two crew members.
The plane was flying from Juba to Pibor when it crashed at Piero Airstrip in Uror County of South Sudan’s Jonglei State.
JongleiState Governor Denay Jock Chagor said he received the news of the crash with “shock and horror”.
He offered condolences to the families and friends of the deceased on behalf of the government of South Sudan.
South Sudan’s civil aviation authority announced Wednesday that it had sent a team to investigate the crash.
On Wednesday, Kur Kuol, director of the South Sudan Civil Aviation Authority, told the Voice of America that preliminary investigations suggest both engines failed minutes before the plane went down.
“In just 10 minutes from Pieri, according to the information that we have, one engine stopped and then it was about to return to the airstrip, the other stopped and so the plane crashed,” said Kuol.
The black box of the plane has been recovered and will be sent to Ukraine for analysis, officials in Juba told reporters Thursday.
The HK-4274 commercial passenger aircraft was operated by South Supreme Airlines, a company owned by South Sudanese business magnate Ayii Duang Ayii.
South Sudanese President Salva Kiir suspended the license of South Supreme Airlines in a statement published Thursday, pending the outcome of a full investigation into the crash.
Kiir said the suspension is “a temporary measure” to deal with what he called “avoidable air accidents”.
The South Sudanese leader recognized in the statement that the laws governing civil aviation in the country need to be “strengthened via legislative means”.
“This measure is necessary for these institutions to ascertain airworthiness of the remaining South Supreme planes, and restore public confidence in air travel in the country,” the statement concluded.
South Sudan’s air safety profile is not yet rated by the International Aviation Safety Assessment Program.
The database on Aviation Safety Network (ASN) shows that at least 10 planes crashed in different locations in South Sudan between 2018 and 2020, accounting for about 30 fatalities.