Aviation Accidents

Algerian Air Force 7T-WIV

Ilyushin Il-76 is one of the most commonly used aircrafts of the Cold War era. It was developed in the early 70s for the Soviet military by the aircraft design bureau Ilyushin during the Cold War. It was designed to be a replacement for the legendary Antonov An-12, as a multi-purpose freighter. Throughout the years, the airplane also started to serve as a commercial airliner, especially for Soviet airline companies like Aeroflot.

Although the aircraft was and has been used by many countries and airline companies, it has actually a relatively bad reputation. Throughout its service time of over 50 years, it has been involved in 17 different plane crashes. Due to this reason, many people even call this aircraft “The Flying Coffin”.

Although it is not as heavily flawed as some other aircrafts that belong to the same category as the Ilyushin Il-76, it is certain that this airplane is hard to operate, and can be very dangerous if not operated properly. With this, however, many Ilyushin Il-76 users today are not actually former Soviet countries. Yes, there are many former Soviet countries that still use the Ilyushin Il-76, but the main users of this aircraft nowadays are third world countries that have bought these aircrafts from the Soviet Union. Some of these countries are; Iran, India, Irak, Sudan, and Egypt.

Algerian Air Force 7T-WIV
Ilyushin Il-76TD
similar aircraft

As we just mentioned, the Ilyushin Il-76 has been the subject of 17 different plane crashes. While some of the Il-76s that were involved in these crashes were military airplanes, there were also Il-76s that were used for civil aviation that were involved in these plane crashes. Some of these airplane crashes caused the death of hundreds, such as Charkhi Dadri Mid-Air Collision, the Iran Ilyushin-76 Crash (2003), or the Congo Air Disaster.

Algerian Air Force 7T-WIV, was no different than these crashes, since it also killed 257 people. Today, in this blog post, we will look into this airplane crash, and inform you about the events that took place related to it.

Information About The Crash

Shortly after taking off from Boufarik AFB in northern Algeria, an Il-76 cargo aircraft flown by the Algerian Air Force crashed. The aircraft was a Tashkent Aviation Production Association-built Ilyushin Il-76TD from the 347e Escadron de Transport Strategique of the Algerian Air Force. The aircraft, 7T-WIV, had its first flight in 1994. The aircraft crashed into a meadow, disintegrated, and caught fire. Ten crew members and all 247 passengers died. The airplane was flying family members and army men to Bechar and Tindouf in Algeria. According to Saharawi Republic officials, the fatalities included thirty Saharawi students and other civilians from the Tindouf refugee camps. They had been in Algiers for a number of official and medical reasons. Saharawis from the refugee camps frequently receive free flights on military transport planes operated by Algeria. According to early reports, 26 members of the Polisario Front were among the dead, according to a senior member of Algeria’s National Liberation Front, which controls the National Assembly. Several Polisario Front members were reportedly among the dead, according to the Moroccan media in particular. However, Algerian and Saharawi officials have since argued that there were only 30 civilian deaths in the Sahara. Witnesses reported that the jet, which crashed shortly after being refueled, burst into flames before it touched down. A number of publications applauded the pilot, Smail Doucene, citing eyewitnesses who claimed he successfully avoided hitting any houses in the area.

According to Farouk Achour, the head of the civil protection services, the flight had just left the Boufarik military installation, 30 kilometers southwest of the capital Algiers, for a military post in Bechar in southwest Algeria. It was planned to stop in Tindouf in southern Algeria, which is home to a large population of refugees from the nearby Western Sahara, a disputed region seized by Morocco.

Several witnesses claimed to have seen flames coming from one of the planes’ engines immediately before takeoff, according to Algerian TV network Ennahar. One farmer said that before the tragedy, some people leaped off the plane. The unnamed man, who was resting on what seemed to be a hospital bed, told Ennahar TV that “the plane started to ascend before collapsing.” “The aircraft caught fire after crashing, initially on its wing.” The chief hospital of the Algerian army has received the victims’ bodies for identification.

Abdelaziz Bouteflika
Former President of Algeria; Abdelaziz Bouteflika

Following the incident, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika issued a proclamation for three days of national mourning, mirroring his response to the military aircraft disaster in 2014. The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic’s president, Brahim Ghali, likewise proclaimed seven days of national mourning. The Algerian Army’s Chief of Staff, Ahmed Gaid Salah, mandated an inquiry to ascertain what caused the mishap. Russia promised to support the probe.