FlySax plane had no black box, say experts

Robin Obino  @obinorobin

Investigations into the cause of FlySax plane crash that killed 10 people including its crew ­— pilot and first officer—are likely to come a cropper because the ill-fated aircraft was not fitted with a black box.

The black box, a device, system or object is an important tool with flight data that could have helped to establish circumstances that led to the plane crash.

A FlySax official, who spoke to the People Daily on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media said only commercial aircrafts weighing more than 5,700 kilogrammes are required to have black boxes.

In this case, the plane was less than 5,700 kilogrammes and therefore, could not have had one.

The revelations that come in the wake of reports that the plane crash may have been “misled” from the control tower on a flight path that the crew was unfamiliar with could heighten public outrage on the safety of some local aircraft.

The plane, which was diverted because of bad weather, had been scheduled to land at Wilson Airport, Nairobi, but was redirected to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The plane is also said to have been flying at 11,000 feet above the sea instead of the required 15,000 feet.

A team of detectives comprising  the Kenya Police Service (KPS),  Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), government pathologists, forensic, homicide and bomb experts, and representatives from the aircraft owners yesterday started combing the scene where the ill-fated aircraft crashed killing 10 people at the Elephant Summit in the Aberdare Forest.

The team coordinated by the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) will be seeking to recover the wreckage to conduct technical investigations into what exactly might have caused the accident on Tuesday.

While the aircraft accident investigation department seeks to establish the first point of contact of the plane with the rock, the government pathologists, will be collecting possible samples from the aircraft for analysis.

NDMU deputy director Pius Masai said another team of investigators will be probing the audio tape detailing communication between the control towers and the cockpit. This, in a bid to put to rest speculations over the cause of the crash.

Kinangop sub-county deputy commissioner asked members of the public to stop speculation and give the investigating team time to conclude investigations which were still underway as we went to press.

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