Tanzanian regional carrier Unity Air Zanzibar has been involved in a bizarre occurrence during which two of its Embraer EMB-120 turboprops were involved in separate accidents at the same airport within hours.
According to conservation organisation Tanzania National Parks, one of Unity Air’s EMB-120s “encountered a technical problem” while landing at the Kikoboga airport around 03:40 on 28 November.
Kikoboga is located in Mikumi national park, in eastern Tanzania.
The organisation identifies the aircraft as 5H-MJH, which Cirium fleets data lists as a 2003 airframe which Unity Air only acquired earlier this year.
All 30 passengers and the crew members are “safe”, it adds.
Video images circulating on social media channels indicate that the aircraft came to rest on rough ground, with substantial damage to its right-hand main landing-gear and engine.
While the organisation contacted the Tanzanian ministry of transport regarding the occurrence, it found itself having to report a second accident later the same day.
It states that a second Unity Air EMB-120 – which it identifies as 5H-FLM – suffered an accident while operating at Kikoboga airport, around 21:30.
All 30 passengers and the crew members are safe, it says. It has not clarified whether any of the passengers or crew were involved in the previous accident.
The aircraft is a 1996 turboprop which, according to Cirium, has also been operating for a few months in the Unity Air fleet.
Video footage suggests the aircraft experienced a nose-gear collapse while its right wing may have contacted a structure in which a fire broke out.
“The cause of the aircraft crash is still unknown,” says the national parks organisation.
It says the airport’s take-off and landing areas “have not been affected” and it remains open for flights, although it adds that it is supporting efforts to reduce the risks to tourism activities.
Cirium lists Unity Air Zanzibar as having five EMB-120s including the two involved in the dual occurrence at Kikoboga.