Tragic Week for UN Aviation in Africa, Lastly, A Pilot Killed In Crash Landing

On January 18, 2024, a tragic incident occurred at Eelbarde Airstrip in Somalia. A Jetways Airlines Fokker 50 cargo plane crashed on landing, resulting in the death of the pilot. The turboprop aircraft, built in 1990 and registered as 5Y-JWG, was contracted by the United Nations (UN) to transport relief aid and humanitarian supplies. The UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) confirmed the incident, stating that the Fokker 50 was carrying humanitarian cargo for the World Food Programme when it veered off the runway. The UNSOM also confirmed one fatality and two injuries from the incident. The UN expressed its condolences to the family and colleagues of the victim and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.


The UN is currently working with Jetways Airlines and federal and South West State authorities to investigate the incident. This marks the fourth aviation incident to occur in Africa within a week, and the third involving an aircraft that either belonged to or was contracted by the UN. Earlier in the week, on January 10, a UN helicopter was captured by the terror group Al-Shabaab after it was forced to make an emergency landing in the central Galguduud area in Somalia. Two days later, on January 12, a Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF) Mil Mi-17 helicopter on a UN peacekeeping mission crash-landed in the Central African Republic due to adverse weather conditions.

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On the same day as the Jetways Airlines crash, an Ethiopian Airlines De Havilland Canada Dash 8 (DHC-8-400) skidded off a runway during landing at Alula Aba Nega Airport (MQX). Fortunately, no injuries or fatalities were recorded in this incident.


This series of incidents underscores the risks and challenges faced by UN aviation operations in Africa. As investigations continue, the international community awaits further details and hopes for improved safety measures in the future.

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