20 June 2024 Civil/General Aviation » Accidents - Civil » 2000 - 2009  




12.01.00 Cessna 152 European Flight Academy 9H-ACW Emergency landing due to engine problem, and towed to Safi afterwards.
30.09.00 A.310 Kenya 5Y-KQL On a Nairobi-London flight. Diverted to Malta after a fire warning went off in the cockpit, landing at around 15.00hrs. Left later in the evening.
10.10.00 Thruster T.600 Island Microlight Club 9H-UMC Crashed over Ta’Qali during training flight. Two slight injuries, aircraft to be restored to flying condition. Aircraft was based at ta’ Qali at the time.
05.04.02   Air Malta   Italian air force fighter came within 10 nautical miles of Air Malta aircraft. Crew received warnings from both TCAS anti-collision system on board aircraft, and Italian controllers. Captain took necessary evasive actions. No injuries.
30.05.02 Robin DR.400/160 Major   F-GUXH Aborted take-off and proceeded to Safi. Left later on the same day.
08.06.02 BAe 142-200 WDL D-AMAJ Diverted due to a technical problem. Can anyone confirm registration? BAe 146-100, D-AWDL arrived on the 9th to pick up the passengers.
19.08.02 B.747-406 K.L.M. PH-BFN Amsterdam-Johannesburg flight. Diverted to Malta after a passenger suffered a heart attack. Aircraft continued to its destination soon afterwards.
13.10.02 B.737 Air Malta   Dropped 300 feet over Italian air space after flying into wake turbulence caused by Egyptair B.747, which had been cleared to climb to the same level as the Air Malta aircraft, without the required horizontal separation. Four slight injuries to two crew and two passengers, after drop caused hot coffee to be spilled on them.
05.11.02 A.320 My Travel G-DJAR Gatwick-Malta flight. Crew had to shut down one engine shortly after entering Maltese air space. Safe landing, no injuries.
25.11.02 A.320 Air Malta   Courier vehicle hit aircraft at Heathrow. Damage limited to a broken lamp and lens. No injuries, aircraft left four hours after incident.
11.01.03 A.330-301 Brussels Airlines OO-SFO Diverted to Malta on a flight to Nairobi, after Brussels Airport received calls of a possible bomb on board the aircraft. Dep on 12 Jan.
18.07.03 A.320 Condor D-AICF Aircraft inbound to Malta reported a near miss with a light aircraft (Tecnam P92-J, 9H-ADU)
16.01.04 Ferrari Tucano Decollage Co. ltd 9H-UME Broke propeller after entanglement by cloth on T/O run and aborted run. Landed heavily on runway and broke port U/C
19.01.04 A.320 Air Malta 9H-ABQ Pilot hit lighting pylon leg as he was taxiing out of park 2. Pylon fell on aircraft’s rear fuselage damaging the aircraft. Damage repaired, and aircraft returned to service. Aircraft has since been sold, departing Malta on 31.10.04
16.01.04 Ferrari Tucano   9H-UME Crashed during take-off. No injuries, but aircraft suffered some damage.
04.04.04 DHC-4 Trigana Air PK-YRJ Arrived on delivery on 02.04.04. Departure was on Sunday the 4th, but a/c returned 20-25 minutes later w/technical problems. Performed a number of engine runs. Departed on 06.04.04.
22.06.04 Thruster   9H-UMD Pilot decided to land on a strip of unsurfaced road in Marsascala due to doubts about engine performance and the ability to return to the airport. Wing was dismantled, and aircraft taken to Luqa. No injuries.
02.11.04 A.319 Air Malta 9H-AEJ Aircraft suffered bird strike, returned to airport. Damage to radome, flaps, and landing lights.
01.02.05 MD-82 Alitalia I-DATQ Smoke from starboard engine after start-up. Passengers disembarked as a precaution. No fault discovered, aircraft departed Malta normally.
17.07.05 Storch   9H-UMK Emergency landing on runway 32.
26.06.05 B.737 Air Malta   Aircraft hit by a passenger jetty at Domodedovo Airport, Moscow. Replacement aircraft sent with engineers and to bring back passengers.
28.07.05       Two flights had to divert to Catania due to early morning fog at Malta.
18.08.05 Gates Learjet 55 Aegean SX-BTV Diverted to Malta due to technical problems and entered Safi for maintenance on the same day. Departure date unknown.
31.08.05 Jet Fox JF91   9H-UMG Aircraft made a heavy landing on runway 06, broke off main right wheel, no injuries.
31.10.05 MD-11 KLM PH-KCK Aircraft was on flight KLM 567 from Dar-Es-Salaam, and had to land in Malta due to a medical emergency. Flight left by 05.30 local.
28.11.05 Agusta-Bell 412 Elilario Italia I-AGSF c/n 25542. Few hours after lifting off from a SAIPEM rig, the pilot noted a red light, indicating problems on the metal deflector. Diverted to Malta in the afternoon, later to Safi. An examination indicated problems with the gearbox, which needed to be changed.
23.01.06 F.27   I-MLQT Suffered in-flight fire in starboard engine. Landed safely on one engine, no injuries.
23.02.06 Challenger 601   N623CW Diversion to Malta due to bad weather.
23.02.06 B.727 LAA 5A-DIH Diversion to Malta due to bad weather.
20.03.06 P. Cheyenne Lufthansa D-IOSD Aircraft was in Malta on a three-day (18-20) training session. Pilot reported undercarriage problems, but landed safely.
27.05.06 Partinavia P68 Observer 2   I-FINA c/n 420-20/OB2. Aircraft’s wing tip hit fire post markings when taxying out of Park 3. No injuries.
25.06.06 A.320 British Airways G-TTOD Aircraft went unserviceable, and towed over to Lufthansa Technic for further attention.
10.07.06 B.737 JAT YU-AON Aircraft was on scheduled flight. Developed technical problems during start up. Eventually left at 08.30 local the following day.
27.07.06 B.737 Air Malta 9H-ADI Aircraft, on flight KM103 from Heathrow, forced to divert to Orly Airport after developing cabin pressure problems. No injuries. Aircraft identity from newspaper photo.

Crash of Yak-55.

10.09.06 Extra 200   N22JW Aircraft was participating in Malta’s first ever Aero GP races. From video footage shown on Maltese television stations, it appeared that the pilot descended, and collided with Yak-55 SE-KHD, chopping off the entire tail area with his starboard wing, causing the Yak to lose control and crash into the sea. N22JW also appeared to suffer engine trouble after prop hit Yak’s port trailing edge and fuselage. Pilot managed to escape by parachute before aircraft also crashed into the sea.
10.09.06 Yak-55   SE-KHD Pilot killed after mid-air collision with Extra 200 N22JW (see above). Autopsy established cause of death by drowning. Both aircraft were raised from the sea the same day.


08.11.06 P. PA-31T Cheyenne Air Loop I-POMO Aircraft left MIA for Milan, Italy, shortly after 00.00 local time, but crashed near Piacenza, at approx 03.30. Good weather on route, and no mayday issued. Two fatalities.
24.12.06 An-12 Volare Airways UR-LAI Flight from Amsterdam. A/c blew tyre during finals for landing. No injuries.
22.12.06       A number of flights both by inbound and outbound delayed due to fog at British airports.
26.01.07 DHC-6   N768JM Aircraft was being ferried back to the US. Departed after re-fuelling, but returned with instrumentation problems. Left Malta on the 27th.
09.02.07 B.757 Ethopian ET-AKC Diverted because of a technical problem, but left later in the evening.
21-22.04.07 MD-11F Martinair PH-MCY Aircraft diverted on a flight from Benghazi, cause/reason unknown to this writer.
21.04.07 Storm 300   I-6293 Italian registered microlight, used to spot for illegal immigrants diverted to Malta, short on fuel , and crossed the path of an inbound Air Malta B.737-33A, 9H-ADI. According to press reports, the aircraft came within 50 feet of each other. Italian pilot allowed to leave later in the evening.
21.06.07 B.737 JAT   Aircraft u/s on a scheduled weekly flight. Repair party arrived on a company P. Cheyenne on the 22nd.
04.07.07. B.737 Rynair EI-DLY Aircraft u/s on normal scheduled flight, Cause unknown.
27.09.07 Techam P92J   9H-AEC Aircraft developed what was described as a non-catastrophic engine failure forcing pilot to land in field on the outskirts of Luqa village. No fatalities/injuries. Aircraft repaired.
24.10.07 B.747 MK Cargo   Diversion, most probably due to poor weather over Tripoli, Libya.
11.01.08 DC-10-30F Gemini Air Cargo N604GC Diverted because of a bird strike, enroute from Benina, Libya, to Ostend, Belgium. Test flight on 13.01.08, departed later in the day at 19.55hrs.
__.01.08 B.737 JAT YU-AND Departed on 29.01.08, delayed by technical problem. Repair team brought in on a Navajo YU-BPF, with “JAT Flight Academy” titles.
16.03.08 A.321 Alitalia I-BIXM Old livery. Aircraft went u/s in No. 2 engine and towed to Lufthansa Technic on the 17th for further attention.
18.03.08 Tecnam 92J European Flight Academy 9H-ADU Swerved on landing and damaged starboard u/c after entering soft ground, port side of runway 13. Repaired and returned to service.
08.04.08 Cessna 560 Citation XLS Libyan Air Ambulance 5A-DRK Diverted to Malta because of a cracked windscreen. Entered Med-Avia at Safi for repairs.
21.04.08   Virgin   Diverted to Malta due to a medical emergency on board aircraft. Callsign Virgin 672.
17.04.08 A.300 Lufthansa D-AIAH According to newspaper reports, the captain decided to return to Malta, after a fire in its cargo hold went off. No injuries or damage.
08.05.08 MD-11F Saudi Arabian Air Cargo HZ-ANA Grounded due to a ruptured hydraulic line. Repair party sent to Malta to effect repairs. Departed on 13.05.08.
19.05.08 B.737-7 Transavia Airlines PH-XRX Technical problem, cause unknown.
27.05.08 B.737-4 JAT YU-AOS Observed inside Lufthansa Technic hangar.
08.07.08 MD-83 Swiftair   Technical problem and departure date unknown.
__.07.08 MD-11F Gemini Air Cargo   Cause of unserviceability unknown. Test flight on 24.07.08
12.10.08 B.757-200 DHL   Cause of unserviceability unknown.
29.10.08 A300-600 Lufthansa D-AIAH Precautionary landing due to smoke alarm in hold. Faulty smoke detector possible cause.
31.10.08 A.340 Swiss   Cause of unserviceability unknown. Aircraft in Malta on pilot training programme.
17.11.08 Socata TB20 Trinidad   N123XX Veered off runway 13, ending up on the grass area in front of the old terminal at Park 8. No injuries.
30.12.08 MD-82 Alitalia I-DAWP Departed on 06.01.09. Encountered problems during start up. Departure delayed by several minutes.
02.01.09 SA.227 Metro   N733US A/c had arrived as AP-BHL together with AP-BHK on 06.12.08. Departed in the morning but had to return, as undercarriage did not retract. Entered Med-Avia for repairs. Departure date unknown.
11.01.09 B.757-2 Ethiopian ET-ALY Diverted to Malta after shutting down one engine on an Addis Abbaba – Rome flight. Departed at 22.30hrs on 12.01.09. See accident report below.

Accident report – Ethiopian A/Ls diversion

The anti-climax of an emergency landing by Michael Carabott. Article first published in The Malta Independent on 17 January 2009.

It must be one of the most chilling announcements to hear on an aircraft when the captain comes onto the public address system to announce an emergency landing.

On the night between 10 and 11 January, one of the engines of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757 failed as it was heading to Rome. Sam Francis was heading to the UK on that flight and recounts his experience inside this issue of The Malta Independent.

Sam describes his worry, attempts at rational thoughts during the whole escapade and the ensuing anti-climax that followed the safe touchdown in Malta. He says that in the half hour or so of drama that ensued, it was nothing like one would imagine.

“No screams, no panic, just people who were groggy trying to come to terms with the fact that we were heading for an emergency landing that could have ended without incident, or with the plane slamming into the ground and killing us all,” says Mr Francis.

The Malta International Airport was the closest place where the aircraft could set down and due contact was made, resulting in permission to do so with the aircraft touched down at about 4.30pm.

Getting through an emergency landing

During the early hours of last Sunday, the Malta International Airport received a distress call from an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 757 enroute to Rome. One of the engines on the aircraft had failed and the pilot requested to make an emergency landing in Malta. Permission was granted and with good fortune, the episode ended without incident. Michael Carabott asked SAM FRANCIS, who was on the flight, to recount his experience.

The prelude

I would not like to call myself pessimistic but whenever I fly, I always assume that each journey could be my last so, provided I am in a position to see the aircraft I am boarding, I tend to give the aircraft a respectful look and hope that it will do its job and get me from point A to B without incident. So I did as I went up the staircase of a Boeing 757 at Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as we boarded Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 710, bound for London Heathrow via Rome Fumicino.

At the check-in desk, I had tried to get a window seat, but neither window nor aisle was available as it was a full flight and as I had changed my departure from Friday night to Saturday night, I was not being afforded any priority as I was not exactly checking in very early. So I settled into Row 31, well to the rear of the plane. We took off at precisely 1am Ethiopian time. The take-off was uneventful and we disappeared into the night, Addis Ababa now turning into distant shimmering lights and disappearing from view after about 20 minutes.

Although not particularly hungry, I was very tired and planned to sleep immediately after the pre-packed and overheated meal, which seemed to take ages to come. As soon as I had eaten, I settled down for the long haul across the Sahara via Northern Ethiopia, Sudan, the Southwestern tip of Egypt and finally, overflying Benghazi in Libya before tackling the Mediterranean Sea to the 45-minute stopover in Rome at Fiumicino Airport. I must have been long asleep before we even reached Sudan and kept dosing on and off as I kept searching for comfort in economy class. What an irony, I thought.

Fast forward a few hours, five to be precise, and as I had not bothered changing my time back to Greenwich Meantime yet, it was 6am in Ethiopia, when something woke me up. It was either the cabin lights being switched on or the sound that accompanies the “Fasten Your Seat Belt” sign being switched on. It might even have been the captain’s voice coming over the public address system or a combination of all the above.

The announcement

As is customary on Ethiopian Airline flights the address is always first in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia, then English. Although groggy from sleep, I quite clearly picked up the words that my average grasp of Amharic told me that there was some problem with the aircraft but, this was followed immediately by “mnm cheger yellem”, Amharic to say “there is not a problem.” The English version confirmed my initial understanding. To the best of my recollection this is what the captain said: “Ladies and gentleman we have had to shut down one of the engines as a precaution. This is normal procedure. We will now fly to Malta on one engine. This is not a problem. We will start our descent soon. Flight time will be 35 minutes.”

Well, there was no cause for alarm, was there really, if twin-engined aircraft like757s And 767s are equipped to fly on one engine and the captain had given us reassurance about the non-existence of a problem.

On reflection, it was like going to the doctor and being told “this won’t hurt,” before being given an injection. Smashing onto the ground at more than 200 kilometres per hour on landing sure would hurt; it might even kill most of the passengers and crew.

Something more serious than the captain had hinted at was obviously happening when I noticed one of the flight attendants frantically knocking on the two lavatory doors that were only three to four rows ahead of row 31, to get the occupants out. I thought to myself, “Since when have passengers being forced out of the toilets in this fashion? Perhaps the poor occupants have just gone in and are in the middle of something that might take them some time. Will they come out instantly or will they just assume that someone is being rude to them and continue taking their time?”

Nearly everyone else, I could see, was either waking up or struggling to stay awake. There was a visible effort on part of the cabin crew to ensure that every passenger was belted up.

So in our collective semi-comatose state we flew onward rather uneventfully, except for a bit of turbulence here and there. Having been asleep it was hard to say whether the aircraft sounded much quieter for the absence of one engine sound or not but no one appeared to panic. We were like lambs to the slaughter, I felt. Eventually, the inevitable arrived. We were now going to land in Malta as announced about half an hour earlier. It was 4.30 local time.

The landing

“Cabin crew take your seats for landing!” required no Amharic translation. We were now possibly within 50 feet of the ground. We were not asked to adopt or maintain any brace position for landing, which I thought strange, as this was no ordinary landing. So I had what I considered, one last look as the ground approached. Outwardly I was calm, but inwardly my mind was working 30 to the dozen – overtime, that is. My limited knowledge of aircraft informed me that in order to balance the thrust of the working engine, the pilots had to use the rudder by pitching it so that it would apply a force equal to that being applied by the working engine in order to enable the aircraft to fly in a straight line.

How about landing, ailerons, elevators, brakes... How would the whole thing work? Never mind, too late to figure that one out... Five, four, three, two, one I was counting down to touchdown trying to anticipate the landing gear or undercarriage coming into contact with the ground... Wheels! I thought, this was not a moment for complicated technical terms. Then we hit the runway fairly softly and if not for a slight swerve and what appeared to be a swerve to one side, followed by immediate correction, it could well have been a textbook landing.

This was followed by the unmistakable roar of the thrust reversers as they and the brakes struggled to bring the jumbo under control and slowly but surely the speed came down until we were going at about what appeared to be no more than 30 miles per hour.


Now, for the uninitiated, it is customary for travellers to Addis Ababa, especially Ethiopians, to applaud any landing, especially if it is good one. But, good, bad or average, the cheering is more out of the joy of reaching one’s motherland safely. The eerie silence that greeted this particular landing was contrary to what would have been expected on this occasion. It should have been shattered by shouting, screams, leaps of joy and tears of relief. But neither in myself or in all the other passengers was this apparent. There was no palpable sense of relief. And then, as if to emphasise the gravity of the situation, the fire engines with their flashing blue lights came into view, all facing the runway we were using. And there were amber lights as well from the service vehicles.

As soon as the aircraft stopped on the hard stand, the emergency vehicles arrived. From within the aircraft, I observed concerned looks and frantic waving on the ground. The military and the police were there too.
Then without further ado, came the announcement that, due to a technical failure, all passengers were to alight with all their hand luggage. Further announcements would be made, we were promised, but that was to be the last announcement from Ethiopian Airlines. This was not your typical evacuation of panic and pandemonium, but an orderly quiet and measured exit. Then, we were bussed and shepherded to the departure lounge at Malta International Airport.

This orderly fashion of things belied the fact that we had just had an emergency landing and should have been, prior to making the successful landing, being saying our prayers and having any potential last thoughts.

Air Malta

It was to be another four hours before those of us that were London-bound were to be seated in the next available Air Malta flight to Heathrow. Problem is Ethiopian Airlines passed on the passenger manifest to Air Malta, but all it had was names and no onward destinations making it very difficult for Air Malta, who went beyond the extra mile, to accommodate a problem that was not really of their origin within their scheduled flights.

Attempting to cater for the rest of the now “ex-Ethiopian Airlines” passengers as we were now referred to was a nightmare. There were families with young children and people with medical conditions and business class travellers, and those who needed to connect from London Heathrow to the rest of the world, America, Europe who some by this time, had already missed their connections and had to be seen to before other passengers. It was apparent they had to throw the rule book out a few times.

We were allowed to go the wrong way up the immigration channels and it was so exasperating with an Air Malta Flight to London literally on hold for us, that at one point the lady who was helping us decided that she had to attend to another task elsewhere. When she left the check-in desk at Gate 14, we joked that she had gone to have a quiet nervous breakdown and take Valium tablets “by the handful” and we all burst out laughing.

It was quiet relief for tortured souls.

13.01.09     5A-DCM Inbound to Malta, but returned to Tripoli, Libya, due to increment weather over Maltese Islands.
23.01.09 Fokker F.50 Amapola PH-LMB Aircraft was on the daily cargo flight. Cause of problem unknown. Departed on 25.01.09 as APF377.
24.01.09 A. 319 Air Malta 9H-AEG Aircraft given priority, after captain reported smelling strange odour in cockpit.
03.02.09 Emb 135 Austrian   Cause of diversion unknown. Callsign Austrian 891.
14.05.09 UTC Cruiser   T7-MFW Aircraft part of 4-ship formation (D-MUTB Julius Airlines, D-MFWF, D-MJWF). T7-MFW and D-MUTB returned immediately after take-off with one aircraft reporting engine problems.
04.06.09 BAe 146   SE-DRN Aircraft, all-white, without titles, on delivery flight. Entered Safi shortly after landing. Departed Malta on the 8th.
08.06.09 Emb 135 AJA A6-MJB Cause of diversion unknown. Same day departure.
22.07.09 P. Aztec European Flight Academy 9H-AEZ Suffered unspecified damage whilst landing on runway 05. No fatalities/injuries.
11.08.09 A.300 Maximus A6-MXB Error in taxying left aircraft stuck in soil near park 8.
12.09.09 B.747   G-MKKA Diverted to Malta on a flight to Libya due to unavailability of parking slots at Tripoli. Aircraft, in all-white colours, departed later in the morning.
13.10.09 B.757 Thomas Cook   Aircraft went u/s, cause unknown.
13.05.09 ICP MXP-740 Savannah   9H-UMJ Aircraft developed engine trouble. Piloted landed in a vine yard in Mgarr. No injuries, but passenger suffered from shock, and was airlifted to hospital in Italian Military Mission AB.212. AFM Islander co-ordinated communications between ATC and AB.212 which had to land to pick passenger. Aircraft damage minimal.
29.10.09 A.320 Afriqiyah 5A-ONI Diversion to Malta for medical reasons. Flight number AAW924.
05.11.09 B.737 Rynair   Flight from Pisa to Malta diverted to Ciampino, Rome, after aircraft was hit by lightning. Unspecified damage to aircraft, passengers transferred to another aircraft for their flight to Malta. No injuries.
22.11.09     9H-UMQ Aircraft developed engine problems after reaching a 1,000-foot altitude. Pilot landed in a field, limits of Qrendi village. As the field had been recently ploughed, the surface was rather soft, leading to damage to the aircraft. Two pilots, no injuries, but one treated for shock.
30.12.09 Bombardier CRJ-900ER Libyan Arab A/Ls 5A-LAC Airport vehicle collided with aircraft’s nose. No injuries.
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