Grenade In Baggage Destroys BT-67


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A Colombian policeman obviously didn’t heed those signs at the airport with all the diagonal slashes through things you shouldn’t put in your checked luggage. The grenade he had in with his skivvies went off while the turbine-upgraded DC-3 he and 26 others were on was getting ready to leave Medellin Airport. Now, the official line from the Colombian government was that it was a tear gas grenade but the damage portrayed in a photo released afterward suggests it might have been considerably more powerful. The aircraft was split in two by the detonation, which also removed most of the aircraft’s upper fuselage. No one was killed but eight people were injured.

There was no immediate word on the extent of their injuries. The Colombian national police force has a fleet of Second World War-era C-47s but these aren’t your average Gooney Birds. They’re Basler BT-67 turboprop conversions that have some other modern conveniences for the drug hunting missions they fly. In addition to the five-bladed props turned by PT-6s, the aircraft each sport a 12.3 mm machine gun slaved to a forward looking infrared system which earns them the same AC-47 designation attached to the Dakota gunships used by the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam. The Colombian locals call them avion fantasma or ghost planes.