Crew survive after Cargo Plus freighter undershoots on second approach to Entebbe
A Boeing 707-300C operated by Cargo Plus Aviation was destroyed in a crash-landing when it undershot on approach to Entebbe, Uganda, last week. The aircraft crashed into the shallows of Lake Victoria about 400m (1,310ft) short of the runway after clipping a rocky outcrop.
The 31-year-old 707 freighter was on approach to runway 35 during its second attempt to land. It had flown round in poor visibility from runway 17 and changed to the reciprocal end seeking better visibility, but on approach its right wing clipped the outcrop and it began to break up. The accident happened in heavy rain on 19 March, but the visibility for runway 35 was given as 8,000m.
The pilot aborted his first approach to Runway 17 at 10:26, and contact with the control tower was lost after the failed second approach at 10:52. The five-man crew, who survived the crash with fractures and light tissue injuries, were all rescued 6min later by the airport emergency services.
The Ghana-registered 707 (9G-IRL) was owned by Brussels-based Cargo Plus Aviation, but it was on wet-lease to Ethiopian Airlines. It had left Addis Ababa with 3h of fuel and was taking advantage of Entebbe's lower altitude for a scheduled refuelling stop en route to Lome, Togo.
Local observers said the crew were lucky to hit the rock first because a little further on they would have hit the slope running up from the lake to the runway.
In February 2000, a Trans Arabian Air Transport (TAAT) 707 also crashed into Lake Victoria, approaching the runway at Mwanza, Tanzania, on the lake's southern shore. Again there were five crew on board and all survived, but on that occasion the aircraft remained intact.