A Cessna C-172 training aircraft has crashed in Lebanon’s mountainous Keserwan district on Thursday, killing all three passengers onboard, according to local reports.
The news follows a slew of similar and unfortunate crash incidents within the last seven days.
The aircraft, registered to flight training academy ‘Open Sky Aviation’, took off from Beirut Airport about 1:30pm local time on Thursday.
However, according to the nations’ civil aviation authority, just 20 minutes later the aircraft crashed near the village of Ghosta, in Lebanon’s mountainous Keserwan district.
Preliminary reports indicated all three passengers, identified as Captain George Chirickdjian, the pilot of the flight, along with siblings Hadi and Joel Moussa, died on impact.
‘Open Sky Aviation’ is a flight training organisation, accredited by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation at the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport.
The company did not respond to requests for comment, but the public works transport minister has formed a committee to investigate the crash.
A local resident from the area, Ziad Maalouf, told Reuters, “It was very foggy in the area … the airplane hit rocks above a house. After hearing the bang, we ran out and we saw the remains of the people.”
A source at the Beirut airport told The961 that there are two potential causes for the accident, one being a “visibility issue”, due to weather conditions.
The source said when reports from the Air Traffic Control are released, they will be able to identify if the pilot made a mayday or distress call before the incident.
This incident follows a week of multiple unfortunate and fatal aircraft crashes.
Last weekend, a Philippine Air Force Lockheed C-130 carrying troops crashed in one of the country’s southern islands, killing 53 confirmed passengers so far.
The C-130 Hercules transport aircraft was flying from Laguindingan to Jolo carrying 92 people in total, most of whom were military personnel, when it overshot the runway at Jolo Airport in the province of Sulu, failing to touch down and regain power before it crashed into trees and caught fire at nearby Patikul.
On Wednesday, another disaster was reported, as an Antonov An-26 passenger aircraft crashed in the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, with all 28 people on board feared dead, according to local authorities.
The Soviet-era twin-engine turboprop aircraft, registered RA-26085, was performing flight PTK-251 from regional capital Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to a small village in the peninsula’s north, Palana, when it is said to have lost contact with air traffic control minutes before its scheduled landing.
Last year, the number of people killed in large commercial aircraft crashes rose, despite major reductions in travel – 299 passengers died worldwide, equating to one fatal crash every 3.7 million flights, up from fatal accidents per million in 2019, according to Aviation consulting firm To70.