Accidents and catastrophes of An-24 aircraft in Poland.

Kraków 2020-01-15

Accidents and catastrophes of An-24 aircraft in Poland.

Wrocław 1969-01-24

On January 24, 1969, the An-24 SP-LTE aircraft approached the landing at Strachowice airport near Wrocław. The crew approached the landing in weather conditions below the minimum allowed. The airport reported that visibility was 800 m, and after a while that it was only 400 m. The minimum was 1,100 m. The plane landed a lot in front of the airport. Damaged railway traction on the Wrocław-Wałbrzych route, power poles and several trees. Eventually, the plane stopped in the field. Fortunately, no one was killed and nobody was seriously injured. Only pilots were hospitalized. All passengers were taken by PLL LOT bus to the center of Wrocław. The plane was scrapped and pilots lost their licenses. The accident was not publicized.

Zawoja 1969-04-02

On April 2, 1969, the largest plane crash in Poland occurred at that time. On this day, at 15:20, a PLL LOT An-24 SP-LTF plane took off from the Okęcie airport on a scheduled LO-165 flight 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 aviation experience and 2 million kilometers flown. Among the passengers was, among others; PLL LOT pilot returning home to Krakow, Professor Zenon Klemensiewicz (78 years old), an outstanding linguist, president of the Krakow branch of the Polish Academy of Sciences, as well as fourteen-year-old Stanisław Lewiński - son of Piotr Lewiński, Minister of Communication, flying to Krakow with his uncle.

The flight from Warsaw to Krakow by plane took 45-55 minutes as standard. The weather was typically low, cloudy 0.7-1.0, strong wind from NW, and in the 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 conditions that prevented a safe flight. However, this An-24 aircraft did not reach Balice. Around 16:10 the plane crashed into the slope of the Policy Mountain (1,369 m above sea level) in the Babiogórski Range near Zawoja. Here the weather was definitely worse. Fog and snow blizzard. In the higher parts of the mountains, the temperature was below zero and snow squalls were passing.

The plane mowed a 300-year-old forest over a length of about 200 m, and its wreck got stuck between two trees. Residents and rescue teams arrived at the crash site found only the scattered remains of crew and passengers. Some people hung in the 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 fault of the pilots, and its exact reason was the crew's misdiagnosis of time.

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

It looks like the SP-LTF pilots realized that they flew the LR beacon near Balice, as indicated by the use of 03 in the report, which meant the aircraft was south of LR. Most likely, the pilots were aware of the gravity of the situation. Perhaps they were even preparing for an emergency landing, as evidenced by the crew and passengers corpses pinned to the seats. On the other hand, it looked like there was no panic on board and people were calm. So the hypotheses of kidnapping, terrorist attacks or other violence drop out. Thus, either the pilot error or the error of the radar station operator from Balice remains.

The pilots' mistake could have been caused by the fact that before the catastrophe the first pilot (captain) had a heart attack, as evidenced by the autopsy. When the crew realized that it had passed Balice, they tried to turn back. However, the plane flew too low (1,200 m) and hit Police upwards (1,369 m).

The investigation did not explain everything and was quickly discontinued. The authorities of the Polish People's Republic did everything to cover up the disaster, which was the norm. Flight details were never disclosed to the public, and a large portion of the pilots' conversations with the tower were lost. The radar operator in Balice left permanently for Scandinavia. He did it with the approval of the PRL authorities.

An-24 W registration of SP-LTF after a disaster. 1969. Photo of LAC

An-24 W registration of SP-LTF after a disaster. 1969. Photo of LAC

Goleniów 1973-02-23

On February 23, 1973, an An-24 aircraft with 36 SPLT flew with important people from Warsaw-Okecie to Goleniów. On board were: Interior Minister in the government of Piotr Jaroszewicz, Wiesław Ociepka with accompanying officers of the Polish Ministry of Interior and six guests from Czechoslovakia, including Czechoslovak Interior Minister Radko Kaska and head of the department of state administration of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Michał Kudzej. Guests from Prague wanted to visit in Szczecin incl. seaport and your consulate.

The flight took place in the evening. Weather was good. The aircraft was driven to the very end by airport navigation devices, all An-24 components were working properly.

No disturbing messages were noted in conversations with the flight control tower.

Around 22:45 the plane lowered the flight and as planned began approaching the airport in Goleniów. Visibility was somewhat limited by clouds, but no major navigation problems were noted. Exactly at 22:52 radio contact with the crew broke off. Governmental An-24 never reached Goleniów airport. The crew sent to the field had no doubt that nobody could survive. The plane hit the ground with such force that its remains were within a radius of several hundred meters. Of the 18 people, no one managed to save himself.

The mass media hardly reported any accident. It was ensured that information about the disaster and its causes did not get public - the accident site was immediately surrounded by the militia, the army and the SB, and censorship banned newspapers from publishing any information, except for official communications without photos and details.

In a special communiqué published a month after the tragedy, which was composed mainly of specialists from the Air Force Institute of Technology, it was written that "the cause of the disaster was a sudden loss of altitude (so-called deep loss) in the final stage of the approach to landing due to intense air vortices, i.e. turbulence ". Turbulence was to occur as a result of a clash of cold and warm fronts at low altitude. The pilot at the last moment unsuccessfully tried to lead the falling plane up. The cause of the accident was considered violent turbulence combined with icing of the wings.

A full list of the victims of the disaster following the official announcement published in the newspaper "Trybuna Ludu" from 2 March 1973:

Ministry of Interior of the Polish People's Republic: Wiesław Ociepka - Minister of the Interior, Col. Czesław Karski, Col. Wiesław Zajda, Major Mieczysław Szumowski, Major Włodzimierz Strzelecki, Second Lieutenant Włodzimierz Andrzej Wulkiewicz, plut. Mikołaj Stefan Tomala; CSRS delegation: Radko Kaska - Interior Minister, Michał Kudzej - head of the State Administration Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Colonel Jarosław Klimappłk Ladislav Huzvik, Major Dr Olga Merunova, Oldrich Dufek; crew from 36 SPLT: Major Pil. Edward Jedynak, age 43, captain pil. Kazimierz Marczak, age 34, captain Nav. Daniel Sterna, age 39, Capt. Janusz Główka, age 48, sergeant staff. Tadeusz Błażejczyk, age 44. Total 18 people.

Słupsk 1981-03-26

On March 26, 1981, the An-24 SP-LTU aircraft performed a scheduled flight from Warsaw to Słupsk. However, the plane just before the runway crashed. 1 person died. The reason was a crew error that entered incorrect altimeter pressure reading parameters.

Rzeszów 1988-11-02

On November 2, 1988. the An-24 W SP-LTD "Dunajec" plane crashes near Rzeszów. One person died.

The An-24 W SP-LTD aircraft made 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 Jasionka airport from the east. At 10:25, before landing, the engines failed. Most electrical installations have stopped working. Lost contact with the earth. Both engines stopped working and the plane flew only by gliding flight.

The aircraft normally has a flight speed of up to 540 km / h, and RWY has two minutes to fly. The engines could not be restarted. The crew knew that they had to land in an emergency area. The crew captain (lieutenant colonel) Kazimierz Rożek was a pilot with thirty years of experience. He had to prepare for an emergency landing without a landing gear, because it didn't want to slide out anyway. Before the plane was a large meadow lying in the village of Białobrzegi near Łańcut. When the plane hit the ground there was a big shock. The plane quickly lost speed and stopped. Stewardess and two MO officers on the plane quickly evacuated. A few dozen seconds later, the plane exploded and then completely burned. A 69-year-old resident of Rzeszów did not survive the disaster. Several people were seriously injured. Still, the impact of the disaster was small.

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


Today, air terrorism is associated with the attacks carried out on September 11, 2001 in the US, carried out on the skyscrapers of the world trade center. And this is the most right association. But hardly anyone remembers that air terrorism is also associated with Poland, LOT Polish Airlines and An-24 W. passenger planes. There are two known cases of hijacking aircraft. Both happened at the beginning of the 80s and had the same history. The purpose of these abductions was to try to get terrorist hijackers to Germany. Both acts of violence ended successfully. No one was hurt and the kidnappers were arrested.

In the first case, on 10.01.1981, the An-24 W SP-LTB No. 67302205 flying from Katowice-Pyrzowice to Warsaw was abducted by four hijackers.

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

Written by Karol Placha Hetman