Air São Tomé loses its only airplane in an accident

26 May 2006

Sao Tome, Sao Tome and Principe, 26 May – State air carrier Air São Tomé, lost its only airplane in an air crash, the causes of which have yet to be established, near the capital of the archipelago, the local authorities said.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Twin Otter aircraft crashed into the sea Tuesday night while carrying out a training run, which had begun in Libreville, Gabon.

The plan was provided by Portuguese air carrier TAP, as part of an agreement to take a stake in Air São Tomé, and had been in use for 15 years, despite having been handed over on a temporary basis.

The Ministry added that the aircraft was insured on a contract that was valid until August 17 of this year.

The aircraft had been carrying four people at the time of the accident, and none of them have so far been accounted for.

The Ministry added that international aid would be requested, via the National Civil Aviation Institute (INAC), airport and air safety company Empresa Nacional de Aeroportos e Segurança Aérea (ENASA) and Air São Tomé itself, for the search and carrying out an inquest into the causes of the accident.

The aircraft’s pilot, Osvaldo Metzger, was completing his training Tuesday accompanied by his Gabonese instructor, and was practicing night landings.

The identity of the two other people on board is not known, and their presence had not been authorized. (macauhub)