An airplane operated by the United Nations on Monday evening skidded off the airport runway in South Sudan’s Malakal town of Upper Nile State. No injuries were reported.
According to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), the incident was caused by bad weather.
“Engineering peacekeepers from India, serving with UNMISS in Malakal, were thrown a surprise challenge the other day: a UN 78-seater aircraft arriving from Juba steered off the runway after landing.
“While nobody on board was injured, the plane got seriously stuck in the mud, thus hampering operations at the airport,” UNMISS said in a Facebook post on Monday.
“With no previous experience of any similar situation, the Indian engineering troops were called upon to safely recover the aircraft. The rescue operation was called off due to bad weather, but after some 48 hours, the peacekeepers together with the flight crew and airport authorities managed to salvage the plane,” said UNMISS.
“[The] recue later led to the resumption of airport traffic; the aircraft being returned, without any damage, to safety; and smiles and spontaneous cheers and applause from the many people gathered to follow the drama”.
South Sudan has had aircraft incidents in the recent past and even the International Air Transport Association last year asked the country’s civil aviation authorities to ensure that the desired level of safety and efficiency is implemented.
In November last year, a plane crash at Juba International Airport left five people dead. In March of the same year, a commercial plane crash in Jonglei State left at least 11 people dead, and just two months earlier, a military plane crashed in South Sudan’s Lakes State Capital, leaving four people injured in Rumbek.
In August last year, President Salva Kiir ordered his country's aviation authorities to promptly investigate a plane crash that left eight people dead, according to South Sudan’s Red Cross.
The order came after a chartered plane belonging to South West Aviation Company crashed shortly after taking off from Juba International Airport.