A medical evacuation plane that disappeared from radar off the coast of Senegal this weekend may have collided mid-air with a larger aircraft, Reuters reports.
“According to initial information, there was a collision between two aircrafts and we are seeking to either confirm or to rule this out with the technical investigation,” Magueye Marame Ndao, the director general of Senegalese civil aviation authority (ANACIM), said in a statement to the news agency.
At around 7pm on Sept. 5, a Senegalair flight, chartered by the ambulance service SOS Medecin Senegal and carrying a French patient, a doctor, two nurses, and three crew members, disappeared from radar screens on its way to Dakar from Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou. ”We reckon the last point at which contact with radar was lost was 60 nautical miles (111 km) off the coast of Dakar,” Ndao said.
Initial reports claimed that the ambulance flight may have run out of fuel. But authorities now believe that the aircraft, which left Ouagadougou at around 4.30pm GMT, may have collided mid-air with a Boeing B737 operated by Ceiba International Airlines, about 555 km from Senegal’s capital.
The Ceiba flight was scheduled to depart from Dakar to Cotonou, Benin’s capital. It was apparently forced to land in Malapo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, where the airline is based, Reuters is reporting. The search for the Senegalair plane was continuing as of Sept. 7.