Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another plane crashes at Wilson Airport

By Ramadhan Rajab

Two people are feared dead in a plane crash at Wilson Airport.

The Beech King Air 1900-twin engine plane belonging to Blue Bird Company was ferrying khat (miraa) to Mogadishu, when it crash-landed shortly after take off at Wilson Airport on Monday.

Deputy Nairobi PPO Moses Ombati, who was at the scene, said only the pilot and co-pilot were aboard the plane during the 8.30am crash.

A witness who helped remove the victims from the plane wreckage and took them to hospital said one person, whom they claimed was the pilot, had died.

Mechanical hiccups

"One person was not breathing when we pulled him out of the wreckage but his colleague, who was still alive had sustained serious injuries on the head," said Mr Bernard Otieno, a resident at Mtumba village located metres from the accident scene.

The co-pilot reportedly died while undergoing treatment at a Nairobi hospital.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director General Hillary Kioko, who spoke to The Standard at the scene of accident, said the plane developed mechanical problems while airborne.

"On noticing the mechanical hiccups, the crew made the procedural turn back after alerting the control tower, but unfortunately it crash landed before reaching the runaway," said Colonel (rtd) Kioko.

He added: "This is a normal accident and natural malfunctioning of the planes (sic), there is no cause of worry, but let’s conduct our investigation before we can ascertain who is to blame."

Clues sought

Witnesses said they heard a bang before the plane suddenly came down metres away from the runway crashing through the airport fence and landed in a ditch before bursting into flames.

"We can’t say anything at this moment concerning the circumstances which brought the plane down, as the accident investigators are still pinning down details, that might tell us what caused the accident," said Kioko.

This is the fourth plane to crash near the airport this year. Two planes, a Cessna Titan and a police aircraft, crashed last month seriously injuring those on board.

Earlier, Kenya Airport Authority Managing Director George Muhoho said they had asked the Government to relocate residents of Mtumba village to avoid any risk.

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