More Images of the Balad AN-26 Crash

On Friday, I posted the first images of the 2007 crash of a civil turboprob airliner near Balad, Iraq. The original plan – crowdsourcing the analysis of the crash scene – isn’t feasible, as the wreckage was in too bad of shape; all the kings horses and all the kings men aren’t putting that plane back together again.

Still, we can have a closer look at some of the wreckage, and try to figure out which, if any, of the stories are true – was it really carrying construction workers, and their equipment? Or was it carrying supplies for the insurgents? Was it carrying something else entirely?

The images posted Friday were full, uncropped images taken by USAF personnel, and released under the Freedom of Information Act. A few had histogram adjustments made, for clarity, but otherwise they were unmodified, only resized to fit this website. These images below are cropped to varying degrees, to better examine pieces of the wreckage – and its cargo.

Keep in mind that large portions of the plane – and, one presumes, its contents – were consumed by fire after the crash. Where I use the term “cargo” or “contents” below, they should be read as prefixed by “surviving”.

Looking through the wreckage photos, the most prominent identifiable items throughout are the numerous packages of what seem to be medical products:

Ranitab is a Turkish medication containing Ranitidine, the active ingredient in, among other things, Zantac.

I can’t find a reference anywhere for “GE-Oral”, or what it does. The big red thing is, I believe, a valve fitting of some sort, probably off the plane.

Tetradox is an antibacterial and antiprotozoal drug used to treat acne, herpes simplex… and malaria.

After bits of paper – mainly magazines and books – the next-most common item in the wreckage were CDs or DVDs:

There was a fair amount of food in the wreckage:

That appears to be a large ham, resting under the remains of one of the Antonov’s wings.

Other than that, there were some clothes – including a lot of white rubber Croc-style sandals, perhaps means as “shower sandals”. Most of the wreckage, of course, was pieces of the airplane itself:

This was the only identifiable tool found in the released photos of the wreckage:

There were no signs of construction supplies, save – possible – one or two of these items, which I haven’t been able to rule out as structural components of the airplane itself:

That object might be debris that was already on the ground when the plane crashed; though it’s a farm field, there are a few items scattered around that look like they could be parts of a razed building – perhaps a farmhouse or outbuilding; this, for example, looks to me like a piece of broken concrete:

Notable absent from the wreckage – or at least those parts visible in the released photos – are, in addition to bodies, of course, anything of a particularly military nature. No weapons, or storage, packing, or dust cases; no ammunition or casings or boxes; nothing else. As shown Friday, there was one old, Soviet-era gas mask found in the wreckage:

Like I warned at the beginning of this project, these photos really raise more questions than they do answers. Nonetheless, now the world has a better – though far from perfect – look at what happened in that Iraqi field one cold January day back in 2007 – and hopefully a demonstration that it’s fairly easy to get all sorts of different sorts of “records” under the Freedom of Information Act, not just written documents.

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on March 31st, 2008| 8 Comments »

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  1. On 4/5/2008 at 1:50 am Sergio Said:

    I’am the sun of the captain of An-26 plane…
    It was hard time in 2007…
    many Thanks for this photos…
    Sergio Sheflediuk…..

  2. On 4/16/2008 at 12:25 pm 112 Said:

    Sergio you are from Durlesti?

  3. On 1/22/2009 at 7:13 pm snuffy Said:

    I was en-route to Balad when that plane crash happened. it delayed me for a day. 4 days after i landed, i had to post security detail on the plane wreckage that was being trucked into an un-used hanger. we found some 30 cuban cigars still intact and smoked them in memory of those that died in the crash.

  4. On 7/11/2010 at 9:04 am Jim Bob Said:

    of course there was no military equipment, this was a civilian transport bringing civlian employees in/out each day. most likely people from poor countries doing unskilled labor.

  5. On 7/5/2012 at 5:39 pm Rebecca Johnson Said:

    Is it possible that you could e-mail me as much info as you have on the 01/09/2007 Balad plane crash. I believe my astrangled husband, Paul Kenton Johnson, was the American which reportly was taken by the Army ground ambulance to the Air Force Theater Hospital. I would like to get as much info as you have, I have already written several letters to every one that I thought could possible help me, but have had no responce from anyone including the construction company that was suppose to be based in Turkey.

  6. On 10/2/2012 at 5:59 am bryan Said:

    Rebecca johnson, you on fb? what city you in?

  7. On 11/20/2012 at 6:15 pm Lance Barnes Said:

    Rebecca, unfortunatly the two guys that we found alive that day were not American. You can email me or fb me if you have any questions.

  8. On 3/24/2014 at 1:20 am Ben Said:

    Hey can anyone email me I have some information regarding the plane. I would like to use my information and knowledge to help the families over here in the U.S.

    my email: