TAP Air Portugal A320neo hits motorbike, kills two

A puzzling tragedy occurred at an airport in Guinea on Friday evening, killing two…

Two dead in TAP A320neo incident at Conakry airport

This incident occurred on Friday September 2, 2022 and involves TAP Air Portugal flight TP1492 from Lisbon, Portugal (LIS), to Conakry, Guinea (CKY). The approximately 2,000-mile flight was operated by a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A320neo and was scheduled to depart at 7:10 p.m. and arrive at 10:45 p.m.

The flight was uneventful until landing. Shortly after 11:30 p.m. local time (the flight was delayed), the plane landed at Ahmed Sékou Touré International Airport, where it collided with a motorcycle on the runway. The motorcycle ended up being dragged by the plane, and part of it got stuck in the engine cowling. The aircraft was badly damaged, while the motorcycle was damaged beyond recognition.

The motorcycle had two people on it, and tragically both died. There are pictures of the plane damage — I won’t include them as they’re quite graphic, but you can find them on this link (you can see blood on the engines, and more).

TAP Air Portugal has expressed its condolences to the two deceased and the Civil Aviation Authority of Guinea has opened an investigation into the incident.

The TAP A320neo is still in Guinea, and I imagine it will be there for some time, as the aircraft probably needs a new engine, and more. The aircraft involved in the incident has the registration code CS-TVI, and it is a fairly new aircraft which was just delivered to the airline in March 2021.

How could an incident like this happen?!

Airports are generally tightly secured areas, especially around runways. How could an incident like this happen? It is reported that the driver of the motorbike was a “security guard, employed by a company in charge of securing the airport fence”.

So this wasn’t a case of someone breaking into the airport and then acting recklessly – instead this motorbike had at least one person who was on duty and working at the airport at that time. You still have to wonder how exactly you could be hit by an airplane. Planes make a lot of noise and have lights, so it’s hard to imagine how this could be an accident (which isn’t to say it wasn’t an accident, but…).

I’m curious to know what happens to this investigation. It is difficult to imagine that the pilots had any fault in this, and indeed a spokesperson for TAP Air Portugal declared that “all safety procedures were respected”. Should air traffic controllers have known about the motorcycle? That remains to be seen…

At the end of the line

An unusual incident has occurred at Conakry airport on Friday evening, when a TAP Air Portugal A320neo hit a motorcycle on landing. The motorcycle ended up being dragged, killing two people and causing serious damage to the aircraft.

What a tragic situation. I still don’t really understand how something like this could happen, so I’m curious to see what an investigation reveals.

What do you think of this incident at Conakry airport?

(Image courtesy of Anna Zvereva)

About Frances R. Smith

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