Accidents and catastrophes of An-24 aircraft in Poland.

Kraków 2020-01-15

Accidents and crashes of Antonov An-24 planes in Poland.

Antonov An-24 SP-LTD. 1982. Photo of Balice Airport
Antonov An-24 SP-LTD. 1982. Photo of Balice Airport

Wroclaw 1969-01-24.

On January 24, 1969, the An-24 SP-LTE aircraft was about to land at the Strachowice airport near Wrocław. The crew approached the landing when the weather conditions were below the permissible minimum. The airport informed that the visibility was 800 m, and after a while - only 400 m. The minimum was 1,100 m. The plane touched down a lot in front of the airport. He damaged the railway line on the Wrocław-Wałbrzych route, power poles and several trees. Eventually, the plane stopped in the field. Fortunately, no one was killed and no one was seriously injured. Only pilots were hospitalized. All passengers were transported by the PLL LOT bus to the center of Wrocław. The plane was scrapped and the pilots lost their licenses. The accident was not publicized.

Zawoja 1969-04-02.

On April 2, 1969, the largest plane crash in Poland at that time happened. On that day, at 15:20, the PLL LOT An-24 SP-LTF aircraft took off from the Okęcie airport on the scheduled flight LO-165 to Krakow's Balice. There were 53 people on board; 6 crew members and 47 passengers. The captain was Czesław Doliński with 20 years of experience in aviation and 2 million kilometers flown. Among the passengers was; PLL LOT pilot returning home to Kraków, professor Zenon Klemensiewicz (78), outstanding linguist, president of the Kraków branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences, as well as fourteen-year-old Stanisław Lewiński - son of the Minister of Communication Piotr Lewiński, flying to Kraków with his uncle.

The flight from Warsaw to Krakow on this plane normally took 45 - 55 minutes. The weather was typically low, cloud cover 0.7-1.0, strong wind from NW, and south from W (Orawiak), cloud base - 500 meters, visibility up to 8 kilometers, in snowfall (in the south of Poland behind Krakow) - zero. However, these were not the conditions that prevented safe flight. However, this An-24 plane did not reach Balice. Around 4:10 pm the plane crashed on the slope of the Polica mountain (1,369 m above sea level) in the Babia Góra Range near Zawoja. The weather was much worse here. Fog and snow blizzard. In the higher parts of the mountains, the temperature was below zero and there were snow squalls.

The plane mowed a 300-year-old forest about 200 m long, and its wreckage got stuck between two trees. The residents who arrived at the crash site and the rescue teams found only the scattered remains of the bodies of the crew and passengers. Some people hung from trees. No person survived the collision with the mountain.

What was the cause of the tragedy? The Provincial Prosecutor's Office in Krakow stated that the accident was the pilots' fault, and that the exact reason was that the crew did not recognize the time.

It is possible that the accident occurred because the crew relied entirely on ground handling and did not conduct their own navigation. Perhaps she was having a social chat with the pilot who was flying in the cabin as a passenger.

It seems that the SP-LTF pilots realized that they passed the LR beacon near Balice, as indicated by the use of the numbers 03 in the report, which meant that the plane was south of the LR. Most likely, the pilots were aware of the seriousness of the situation. Perhaps they were even preparing for an emergency landing, as indicated by the corpses of the crew and passengers pinned to the seats. On the other hand, it looks like there was no panic on board and people were calm. So the hypotheses of kidnapping, terrorist attack, or other violence fall off. Therefore, there is either an error of the pilots or the error of the operator of the radar station from Balice.

The pilots' error could have arisen due to the fact that before the catastrophe, the first pilot (captain) had a heart attack, which was indisputably demonstrated by the post-mortem examination. When the crew realized that they had passed Balice, they tried to turn back. However, the plane flew too low (1,200 m) and hit the Polica mountain (1,369 m).

The investigation did not clarify everything and was quickly discontinued. The authorities of the Polish People's Republic did everything to cover up the disaster, which was the norm. The details of the flight were never released to the public, and a large part of the record of the pilots' conversations with the turret was also lost. The radar operator in Balice has gone to Scandinavia for good. He did it with the approval of the communist authorities.

Goleniów 1973-02-23.

On February 23, 1973, the An-24 aircraft with 36 SPLTs made a flight with important people from Warsaw-Okęcie to Goleniów. On board were: Minister of the Interior in the government of Piotr Jaroszewicz, Wiesław Ociepka with accompanying officers of the Polish Ministry of Internal Affairs and six guests from Czechoslovakia, incl. the Czechoslovak Interior Minister Radko Kaska and the head of the state administration department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Michał Kudzej. Guests from Prague wanted to visit in Szczecin, among others seaport and its consulate. The flight was in the evening. Weather was good. The plane was guided to the very end by the airport navigation devices, all An-24 components were working properly. No disturbing communications were recorded in conversations with the tower. Around 10:45 pm the plane lowered its flight and, as planned, began to approach the airport in Goleniów. Visibility was somewhat limited by clouds, but no major navigational problems were noted. Exactly at By 22:52 the radio contact with the crew was cut off. The governmental An-24 never reached the Goleniów airport. The team sent into the field had no doubts that no one could survive. The plane hit the ground with such force that its remains were within a radius of several hundred meters. Out of 18 people, no one managed to save themselves.

The mass media hardly reported the accident. It was ensured that information about the crash and its causes did not get public - the place of the accident was immediately surrounded by the militia, the army and the SB, and censorship prohibited the newspapers from publishing any information, apart from official announcements without photos and details.

In the communiqué published a month after the tragedy of the special commission, which was composed mainly of experts from the Air Force Institute of Technology, it was written that "the cause of the crash was a sudden loss of flight altitude (the so-called ". The turbulence was supposed to occur as a result of the clash between the cold and warm fronts at a low altitude. At the last moment, the pilot tried unsuccessfully to lift the falling plane up. Violent turbulence combined with icing of the wings was considered to be the cause of the accident.

Słupsk 1981-03-26.

On March 26, 1981, the An-24 SP-LTU plane was making a scheduled flight from Warsaw to Słupsk. However, the plane just in front of the runway crashed. One person died. The reason was an error of the crew that introduced incorrect pressure reading parameters to the altimeter.

Rzeszów 1988-11-02.

On November 2, 1988. An-24 plane in SP-LTD "Dunajec" has an accident near Rzeszów. One person died.

The An-24 W SP-LTD plane was on a flight from Warsaw to Rzeszów. There were 29 people on board: two pilots, two flight attendants and 25 passengers. The landing was to be carried out at the Jasionka airport from the eastern side. At 10:25 am, before landing, the engines failed. Most of the electrical system has stopped working. Communication with the ground was lost. Both engines stopped working and the plane was gliding only.

The plane normally has a flight speed of 540 km / h, and there are two minutes of flight time until RWY. Engines failed to restart. The crew knew that they had to make an emergency landing in unlikely terrain. The crew captain (lieutenant colonel) Kazimierz Rożek was a pilot with 30 years of experience. He had to prepare for an emergency landing without a landing gear, because it wouldn't extend anyway. In front of the plane there was a large meadow in the village of Białobrzegi near Łańcut. When the plane hit the ground, there was a major shock. The plane quickly lost speed and stopped. The flight attendants and two MO officers in the plane quickly evacuated. Several dozen seconds later, the plane exploded and burned down completely. Weronika Szwed, a 69-year-old resident of Rzeszów, did not survive the catastrophe. Lord, give her eternal rest! Several people were seriously injured. Hospital assistance was provided to 13 people. Even so, the effects of the disaster were minor.

This disaster caused the management of PLL LOT to decide to withdraw the obsolete and worn out Antonov An-24 aircraft from service. The destroyed machine was bought in 1966 and was 22 years old.


Today, air terrorism is associated with every person in the world with the attacks carried out on September 11, 2001 in the USA, against the skyscrapers of the world trade center. And this association is absolutely correct. But hardly anyone remembers that air terrorism is also associated with Poland, LOT Polish Airlines and An-24 W passenger planes. Two cases of aircraft hijacking are known. Both happened in the early 1980s and had the same story. The purpose of these abductions was an attempt by the terrorist hijackers to enter Germany. Both acts of violence ended happily. Nobody was hurt and the hijackers were arrested.

In the first case, on January 10, 1981, the An-24 W SP-LTB aircraft No. 67302205 flying from Katowice-Pyrzowice to Warsaw was hijacked by four hijackers.

In the second case, on September 22, 1981, the An-24 W SP-LTK aircraft No. 67302507 flying from Warsaw to Koszalin was also hijacked by four hijackers.

Written by Karol Placha Hetman