Luzamba airport: plane-wreck central

Wednesday, 7th October 2009 by

If you’re a nervous flier, you’d do well to avoid Luzamba airport in northern Angola1. It’s not so much that lots of aircraft crash here (although it seems it’s hardly a rare occurence) — more the fact that the wrecked planes are simply left scattered around the place.

Luzamba airport

There are at least four: first up, at the northern end of the runway, an Air Angola Antonov An-26 which overshot the runway in February 1999, killing 2 of the 36 people on board. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s report suggests that the crew might have been drunk. There’s a ground-level photo of the wreckage on Panoramio2.

Wrecked Antonov Wrecked Antonov

At the other end of the airport, and seemingly in better shape, is a Transafrik L-100-30 Hercules (a civilan version of the C-130), which also overshot the runway later the same year. Happily, there were no casualties in this incident. Again, Panoramio features a ground-level photo, which reveals that the plane has been stripped of its engines and other salvageable parts.

Wrecked Hercules Wrecked Hercules

In the trees to the east of the runway are another two crashed planes: one that looks almost as big as the Hercules, and another much smaller one about 50 metres away. Extensive research by Google Sightseeing (or a bit of Googling, at any rate) has failed to identify these planes, although there is a photo of one of them on Panoramio, too, and it looks as though it’s been lying there for some time. Can anyone identify it?

Two crashed planes Mystery plane

Lastly, it’s hard to tell from the aerial view, but could this be another piece of wreckage just on the other side of the runway from the last two planes?


Thanks to John.

  1. Not that the country is a major tourist destination just yet, given the after-effects of the 27-year civil war

  2. Incorrectly labelled as an An-24.