Australian mining bosses' plane missing

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Not sure why they are looking in the Congo since both the departure point and destination are in Cameroon. And with the dense jungle in those parts it will be like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. Hopefully they have landed safely somewhere.

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There must have been an ELT/ELBA on board? Perhaps not if it was a local (cameroonian) plane. But would they have chartered a plane from a shady operator? I doubt it. If such a plane went down under the canopy of trees it is doubtful if they would ever spot it from the air. I'm only 300 miles away and know the terrain. Those trees can reach 100 feet. There was no bad weather that day. The last news I had was that it was a CASA 212.

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It is reported that the French military are now assisting in the search, not sure whether this is on the ground or in the air.

Also a local tribe of pigmys (pigmies?) have been requested to assist as this is dense jungle and there was fog this morning.

The aircraft is a CASA 212 of Aero Service possibly TN-AFA or 'AFD. As these are white aircraft, this should make it slightly easier to locate.

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I know that plane from back in the days when I flew in Pointe Noire. Aero Service is based there.

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Sorry for this long post, it seems they have found the wreckage, no survivors. :( RIP

This should go with the old thread on African air safety:

EU banned charter flight operator

Air safety fears add to miners' woes.
Business Day reporter Chris Zappone says miners are under pressure from threats to trade, a super-profits tax and now fears over the risks they face travelling to remote loactions.

The charter flight operator carrying mining billionaire Ken Talbot and Sundance Resources chairman Geoff Wedlock had been banned by the European Union following three earlier safety incidents - one as recent as 2008.

Flight Safety Foundation, a global independent body for aviation safety, listed three safety incidents for the Brazzaville, Congo-based company, Aero-Service, occurring in January 2008 and March 1994.

The charter flight operator carrying Australian mining executives had been banned from flying in the EU.

A spokeswoman for the safety group confirmed that Aero-Service was not an airline participating in the Basic Aviation Risk Standard, a global programme aimed at increasing safety in flights used in the mining sector.

Sundance Resources was not immediately available for comment on the use of Aero-Service.

Melbourne-based Flight Safety Foundation regional director Paul Fox said all operations from the Congo are currently banned from operating in the EU airspace.

The EU, he said, ''considers the regulatory framework within that country to be below essential safety levels''.

The Aviation Safety Network, a service of the Washington DC based-foundation, showed that in January 2008, the brakes failed on an Aero-Service Antonov 12BP as it taxied at Pointe Noire Airport in Congo and could not be stopped from hitting a parked Boeing 727.

In December 2005, an Antonov 24RV operated by Aero-Service ran off the runway in Pokola, Congo.
Another plane, "belly landed" on the runway in Pointe Noire Airport in 1994, skidding 800 feet before coming to a rest, according to the ASN.

According to the African charter flight operator, it has a fleet of 10, including the Spanish built CASA-212 which the mining executives were on.

Aero-Service did not respond to calls.
Sundance Resources has halted its operations in Africa to focus on the search for a plane carrying the six Australian mining executives that went missing in a flight from Cameroon on Saturday.
Sundance said today chief financial officer Peter Canterbury would be acting chief executive while the search continues.
The flight failed to reach its destination in the Republic of Congo after departing the Cameroon capital of Yaounde. Planes from both Cameroon and Congo have been assigned to search for the missing plane.