Eagle Airs Managing Director, Captain Tony Rubombora, has made the request in an official letter to the South Sudans Director of Aviation. The letter requests that the Sudanese authorities grant permission, through Ugandas Civil Aviation Authority, to allow Ugandan investigators establish the real cause of the crash.
Eagle Air's Managing Director, Captain Tony Rubombora, has made the request in an official letter to the South Sudan's Director of Aviation. The letter requests that the Sudanese authorities grant permission, through Uganda's Civil Aviation Authority, to allow Ugandan investigators establish the real cause of the crash.
On April 1, an Eagle Air plane carrying 17 passengers and three crew members crashed into the bush as it attempted to take off from Yei aerodrome.
According to a public statement issued by Eagle Air, the plane's front landing gear retracted prematurely and the crew made a quick decision to stop the take-off and brought the plane to a stop successfully. All passengers and crew were unharmed. The cause of the premature retraction of the plane's front landing gear will form the basis of the investigation.
When contacted for a comment, Eagle Air's Sales and Marketing Manager, Joan Kagoro declined to divulge any more details preferring that the investigations be carried out first before the airline can issue a statement.
She said Eagle Air has a team of competent investigators who should be able to get the cause of the fault if granted permission. Kagoro said since the crash took place in South Sudan, it is now a bilateral issue that has to be handled between South Sudan and Uganda.
Civil Aviation Authority-Uganda publicist Vianney Luggya, promised to give details after talking to those who are technically knowledgeable about the procedures.
Meanwhile sources say a string of international non-governmental organizations, religious and political leaders with interests in South Sudan have been going to Eagle Air to show solidarity and urging them not to consider stopping flights to the restless country.
Eagle Air is the only airline operating the Yei route after the town in the Central Equatoria State has been besieged by rebel soldiers. The route from Kaya to Yei is a no-go one while traveling from Yei to Juba is by heavily guarded convoys, but even then there are cases of ambushes.
Eagle Air has been operating in South Sudan for over 15 years now, and also has operations to difficult destinations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic. Reports also suggest Eagle Air has been instrumental in transporting humanitarians to and from Yei, in addition to delivering much needed food, medicine and other supplies needed by people in the besieged town.
Eagle Air has also been key in transporting refugees out of Yei to safety in Uganda. A source told Uganda Radio Network that each time the plane landed in Yei scores of refugees with their life belongings, including sometimes domestic animals, would want to board the plane, conjuring sad scenes from movies like Casino Rwanda and Tears of the Sun.
In the press statement, the management of Eagle Air stated that they remain "committed to ensuring safety of its clients". Eagle Air has been operating in Uganda for 23 years. In that period, the airline has generally had a good air safety record despite operating in some of the most inhospitable airstrips in the world.