A UPDF aircraft with about eight people on board (2 Pilots and 6 UPDF crews) crash-landed and overturned today 19 May 2023 at around 11.50 am as it attempted to land at Kalongo Airstrip.
An Ambulance from Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital, which is a couple of minutes away from the airstrip, was immediately dispatched and all the injured were taken there for medical attention. None of them appeared to have suffered any serious injuries.
Luckily, no one on the ground was injured.
How the crash happened
Eyewitnesses said the aircraft hovered in the sky for a while and on a third attempt, it landed at high speed with the front tire hitting the runway. It failed to stabilize as it taxied a short distance before veering off the runway and overturning in nearby gardens. The cause of the accident is not yet known nor is its mission in Kalongo.
In these times of the Karimojong cattle rustlers raiding cattle from the sub-region, the UPDF has intensified aerial surveillance to counter the attacks by the rustlers in a bid to recover stolen cattle.
About Kalongo Airstrip
Kalongo Airstrip is a private aerodrome belonging to Dr. Ambrosoli memorial hospital constructed in 1993 on a piece of land donated by three major landowners, The Mission, the late Professor Dr. JJ Otim, and the late Mr. Maracello Lyec Kalongo. The latter two gave parts of their farmland to Kalongo Hospital for the construction of the Aerodrome. The late Professor Dr. JJ Otim was a former Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries in the Obote regime, as well as a Senior Presidential Advisor on Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries in the current government. The late Mr. Maracello Lyec Kalongo was a renowned dairy farmer.
The airstrip was constructed by a small group of local workers under the supervision of Bro. Agostino Stocco who was the head of Kalongo Hospital Technical Department.
The airstrip was specifically constructed for small aircraft (Mission Aviation Fellowship [MAF] and Eagle Air companies) to help the hospital transport drugs, medical supplies, and to support the movement of its personnel during the height of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency. At that time, movement on the road was almost impossible due to the numerous ambushes and the time it took to travel between Kalongo and Lira – a week or more.
In 1996, a UPDF aircraft also suffered a mishap during takeoff from the same airstrip. In that case, the Pilot suffered serious injuries and was briefly hospitalized in Dr. Ambrosoli memorial hospital. He was later flown away by the UPDF for other specialised care.
Obonyo Alex is The Kalongo Times, Bureau Chief, Kalongo Town Council. He currently serves on the Board of Governors at St. Charles Lwanga’s College Kalongo and on the Pader Abim Community Multipurpose Electric Co-operative Society Limited (PACMECS); a cooperative dealing with the distribution of electricity in the northern service territory. He is a member of the Board of Directors chairing its Finance and Human Resource Committee. Between 2016 to July 2018 he also served on the Board of Governors at St. Kizito Hospital Matany in Karamoja. Alex worked at Dr Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital for 28 years (1990 to 2018), and for 14 of those years, he was the Hospital Administrator. He has a Masters of Science in Health Services Management and a bachelor’s degree in Administrative Studies. Obonyo Alex is also a local Kalongo businessman.