A seemingly-doomed aircraft has suffered at least 130 fatal crashes that have killed nearly 2,000 people in a string of disasters.
The string of horror incidents featuring the Antonov An-12 includes in-flight infernos, plane hijackings and mystery crashes.
The Antonov An-12, a Ukrainian military transport aircraft, has been involved in a multitude of horrific air crashes since it first took to the skies in 1957, with the most recent happening just last month – killing all eight on board.
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The causes of the many crashes span anywhere from usual technical problems or bad weather, to the plane literally colliding with another or the sparking of in-flight infernos – with a few having mysteriously disappeared and found as a wreckage later.
And some of those lucky enough to escape with their lives and not be added to the horror 1,952 death toll soon met their fate on fleeing the catastrophes – either by running straight into still-turning plane propellers, being taken hostage by soldiers, or in one case a crew member stepping on a landmine.
One of the very worst tragedies occurred on February 7, 1968, when the Indian Air Force An-12 crashed into a high mountain pass on the eastern end of the Himalayas – killing all six crew and 92 passengers.
The remains of a person from the missing aircraft were discovered in 2003 but the fate of the aircraft was not known until 2005 when a search party found the wreckage.
The second-worst disaster saw all 120 aboard the Soviet Air Force An-12BP flight dead on June 23, 1969, after it flew in formation with two others and collided with another aircraft over Yukhnov, Russia.
A navigator lost his life in January 1980 when the same model, a Soviet Air Force An-12BP, veered off the runway on landing at Kabul Airport and horrifically crashed into a rocket launcher.
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Several of the same Soviet aircrafts have also been shot down by missiles – killing five crew members approaching Jalalabad Airport in Afghanistan in February 1983 and another eight crew in January the following year when it attempted a forced landing.
One of the most bizarre incidents happened in February 1984 when an Ethiopian Air Force An-12 was hijacked by a man demanding to be flown to Somalia. He detonated a grenade when he realised the aircraft was flying to Debre Zeit – seeing 26 of 38 on board perish.
Crew members of a April 1993 UN An-12 flight escaped with their lives when they force-landed in a field near Luena, Angola, after one of the engines was hit by a SAM missile. However, one of the crew died after stepping on a landmine. Angola was in the middle of a brutal civil war at the time.
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This was followed by the horror deaths of two passengers aboard a Wimbi Dira Airways An-12 flight in October 2005, where although they initially survived – along with all 100 of the passengers – soon died when they ran into the still-rotating propellers while fleeing the aircraft.
In September 2007, a Business and Cargo Company An-12BK (9Q-CZB) disappeared during a Kisangani–Goma cargo flight with seven on board. In November 2012, wreckage – most likely from the aircraft – was found in a forest 130 miles south of Kisangani.
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The deadliest of crashes involving the An-12 family of planes was the June 2017 Myanmar Air Force Y-8F-200W 5820 flight which crashed 56km west of Dawei, Myanmar – killing all 122 on board, and making it the most lethal in Myanmar history. The plane had lost contact 29 minutes after take-off.
Despite all this, Antonov says its An-12 family of planes are "one of the best airplanes of such category in the world", says its website.
"The airplane has proven itself well in India, in high-altitude and poorly-adapted aerodromes," details the Antonov website. "In total for the period from 1957 to 1972, 1,243 AN-12 aircraft of various modifications were manufactured."
Antonov has been approached for comment.
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