Soviet-era plane that crashed in S Sudan was in ‘no state to fly’

The decades-old Antonov plane that crashed in South Sudan and claimed the lives of at least 36 people on Wednesday, “was is no state to fly”, the Ukraine-based aircraft company said.

“The An-12B was is no state to fly because it failed to undergo timely technical servicing… that should have included work on extending its resources and exploitation timeframe,” Antonov said in a statement.

The Antonov firm was spread out across the former Soviet Union plane when the illfated plane was built in 1971.

Ukraine was the An-12B’s designer. The plane itself was built in Uzbekistan and later registered in the neighbouring central Asian state of Tajikistan.

It is both a civil and a military transport aircraft that conducted its first test flight in 1957.

The plane crashed just seconds after taking off from South Sudan’s capital Juba, smashing into a farming community on an island on the White Nile river.

A spokesperson for Antonov in Kiev said the company was now in contact with the aviation authorities of Tajikistan, believing they were responsible for the plane’s upkeep.