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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
July 7, 2010 9:20 am
Published in: Flying

The following was released by the IS director. I’ll add a little after he gets done.

Dear AIM coworkers,

Midmorning Monday July 5, the King Air operated by AIM AIR incurred damage during landing on an airstrip in southern Sudan. There were no injuries. The aircraft is badly damaged but repairable. The damage includes the left landing gear, engine, and propeller.

Immediately a recovery team was assembled and another aircraft was prepared and launched from Nairobi with the recovery team on board. Thankfully, a UN team arrived on scene to provide security and lights, allowing the team to work into the night. Tuesday morning (July 6) the recovery team was able to move the King Air off the runway to the parking area of the airstrip.

Another AIM AIR aircraft completed the King Air’s scheduled flight for the passengers.

The recovery team’s initial assessment has identified parts of the aircraft that can be replaced. It is estimated that it will be some time before these parts can be obtained and the aircraft brought to a condition where it can be ferried to Nairobi to undergo further repair.

We are working with Samaritan’s Purse staff on location to ensure security during the process while the airplane is in Sudan.

We ask that you join us in praying, praising God for the safety of everyone on board, and asking for His wisdom and guidance during the recovery and repair process, and thanking everyone who assisted in the last two days.

-Colin Earnshaw

I flew a Caravan up to Sudan to take a stack of tools and the rest of the recovery team to get the King Air off the side of the runway and out of the swamp.  Let me emphasize again, no one was hurt, not even bruised.  We dug and we jacked and we shored up and jacked some more, and eventually recovered the aircraft from the side of the runway to the parking area, and began the process of truly recovering it back into service.

A bit more detail…after landing the pilot struck a washout with the left main landing gear while trying to avoid a large puddle in the middle of the runway.  Puddles can often hide ruts or holes that make the airplane difficult to control or cause damage.  The runway in question, as you can see in the first picture, sits a couple of feet above surrounding swamp.  The rains have begun in Sudan and run off has caused a number of washouts along the edges of the runway.

The UN helped with providing some security initially, and they also provided us a portable light stand mounted on a generator to let us keep working after dark.  We arrived on scene about 6pm and by 8pm had the airplane back on its wheels.  We went off to get some rest and returned the next morning a bit before 7am.  By 8 the airplane was on the runway, and by 8:15 am the airplane was safely parked in the airstrip parking area.  I have to add, i have NEVER seen so many insects in my life. The portable flood lights attracted literally millions on millions of bugs.  You could see them swarming the lights and the ground around the light trailer was literally crawling.  We made, as you can no doubt guess, liberal use of bug repellent.

Please pray that the effort will go smoothly. The aircraft is a long long way from Nairobi, and doing repairs there to get the aircraft to Wilson will be difficult due to the climate.  Please pray also for security so that the plane is not vandalized, and most of all please pray for the pilot.  To say he feels terrible is like saying hurricanes are a bit windy.  Please pray also for the two members of the recovery team that stayed with the aircraft to continue prepping it.  They also have a project of fixing the local missionaries’ truck today while they wait for the DC-3 to come through and pick them and various parts up.  We drove back to the town in the dark, with two of us holding flashlights out the windows in lieu of headlights.  The truck’s alternator had failed and we had some adventures getting to the guest house and then getting the truck started in the morning to get us back to the airstrip.

Please pray for the rest of AIM Air as we work through what happened.