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Two Cubana crashes add to sad year-end toll

David Learmount/LONDON

A series of airline accidents has cast a shadow over the year-end holiday period, with Korean Air suffering its third hull loss in 1999 and Cubana having two fatal crashes within five days.

The main accidents in the last days of 1999 include:

• 21 December: a Cubana McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 overran runway 19 on landing at Guatemala City Airport, Guatemala, down a steep bank and into houses, killing at least nine people on the ground. Airport officials allege that the aircraft appeared to land well down the runway, which was wet. The aircraft F-GTDI, was on dry-lease from AOM French Airlines and, among the 18 crew and 296 passengers on board, eight crew and nine passengers were killed.

• 22 December: a Korean Air Boeing 747-200F (HL7451) crashed shortly after take-off from London Stansted Airport, UK, killing all four crew.

• 25 December: a Cubana Yakovlev Yak-42 (CU-T1285) crashed near Valencia, Venezuela, killing all 12 crew and 10 passengers when it hit high ground on approach.

• 25 December: a Skyline Airways DHC Twin Otter 300 (9N-AFL) crashed into Mt Burja Lek near Simara, Nepal, about 5min after take-off, killing all three crew and seven passengers.

• 29 December: an Antonov An-28 of Ecuato Guineana de Aviacion, with a reported crew of five, went missing off the Turkish Black Sea coast. The aircraft was en route from Nicolayev, Ukraine, to Teheran, Iran, and had requested permission to land at Ankara, Turkey, to refuel, according to Turkish news agency Anatolian. It was reported lost in the Black Sea off northern Turkey.

A full report and analysis of 1999 airline accidents and safety in the 1990s will appear in Flight International on 25-31 January.

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