B707 Takes a Swim

AVweb often comes across an image or two that we can't justify running only as a news story. Such is the case with this collection of images sent to AVweb by three different readers - John Barry, Mike Yates and Allan Hughes - of the aftermath of a botched landing attempt by the crew of a TAAT Boeing 707. Here's the narrative, as AVweb received it.


In northwestern Tanzania at the lower end of Lake Victoria is Mwanza, a small port city, with a long but narrow runway. A few years back a DC-8 crashed trying to land there and the remains are scattered in various places around the airport. But that’s another story.

Last week, at about 2000 local time (i.e., at night), an Arabian registered B707 cargo aircraft was landing to pick up a load of fish. On the first approach the airport lost power and all its lights (a routine experience here), so the pilot had to go-around until the back-up generators got the lights on.

On the second approach he was much too far to the right & almost took out the small terminal and control tower. Missed approach number two. On the third approach (from over the lake with no visual reference) the control tower called him to say, “you are too low, pull up,” to which the Captain replied, “don’t worry, I know what I am doing.”

About five kilometers short of the runway, he hit the water, tore off all four engines and the landing gear, but didn’t puncture the fuselage. With battery power & the taxi light on, they were picked up by a fishing boat (no injuries).

The following day, it was still afloat, so a tug towed it to shallow water near the airport, where it will probably be a beacon for many years. Maybe the pilot misunderstood where he was supposed to pick up a load of fish?