Another break from my regular programming for a current GA development at Zagreb Airport; at 15:17 local (14:17 UTC), Piper PA-23-250 Turbo Aztec E registered 9A-DAT had suffered a nose gear collapse/failure while landing on RWY 23. Information currently available does not specify whether the aircraft had landed with the nose gear retracted, or the gear had snapped/unintentionally retracted on runway contact.
The aircraft had come to a stop with its nose dragging along the runway, with no other damage reported as of yet. No information on casualties, but judging by the presence of firefighting vehicles only – and the fact that it had been towed off without much effort – suggests there have been no injuries nor loss of structural integrity. The number of persons on board is not known.
The flight had originated in Maribor, Slovenia (LJMB) and had been flying under VFR rules along the way. As of 16:20 local (15:20 UTC), it had been removed off the runway*.
* during the removal process, the runway had been briefly closed as per the following NOTAM: NEW TODAY TIL 1502211545 RWY05/23 CLOSED.
More information soon…
16:45 local: according to archived ATC communication recordings made by LiveATC, the tower controller on duty had informed other traffic that “a light GA aircraft has had a nose gear collapse on the runway”.
17:00 local: additional information about the aircraft itself from personal research: sporting serial 23-7554060, DAT is one of the late-production Aztec models, manufactured back in 1975. Its only previous reg was OY-BLK of Denmark, from where it came to Croatia in the mid-2000s. Up until its sale to a private owner here in Zagreb in the latter part of 2014, it had been operated by Zadar (LDZD)-based Eudora Let.
22 FEB, 09:50 local: the first photo of the event has surfaced on the Net, though in low quality (and from an unknown author). However, it does seem to confirm that the aircraft’s structure had essentially suffered only light damage to the nose underside, with the biggest items on the repair bill likely being the bent props**…
** however, the engines will have to be examined as well to see whether they had sustained any ill effects from their sudden stop as the props hit the ground.
22 FEB, 10:15 local: another shot, snapped at 16:25 local, a minute or two after the aircraft had come to a stop (and before the arrival of the firefighting services).