Pilot, tourists die in Kericho plane accident

Roy Lumbe @lumbe_roy

Four American tourists and a Kenyan pilot lost lives yesterday, when a light aircraft crashed at Kamwingi One in Londiani, Kericho county.

The five reportedly flew from Ol Kiombo in Masai Mara to Lodwar, near Lake Turkana, on a tour before the plane developed mechanical problems. They were identified through their travel documents secured at the scene.

Kericho County Commander James Mugera said the plane developed mechanical problems near Makutano forest, at the border of Kericho and Nakuru. 

He said the plane was flying at an unusually low altitude near the forest before it crashed at Kamwingi. “The plane was ferrying tourists from Keekorok, Masai Mara, headed to Lodwar and it was flying unusually low before it crashed. The plane was roaming around Makutano forest,” he said.

Mugera said the five died before any aid could get to them, adding that ambulances and security agencies were dispatched to the ground immediately after the crash.

The cause of the crash was not immediately established and the Airport Authority has started investigations on the same.

According to a statement from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), the pilot had sent them a distress signal at around 7.29am.

KCAA said the Air Accident Investigation Department (AAID) had commenced investigations. First responders said the victims were a male pilot, two female and two male passengers. 

One resident said the pilot tried to land in a farm  but the plane wheels were caught by trees leading to a nosedive crash.

Kericho leaders, led by the County Assembly deputy leader Josephat Ruto, have  sent their condolences the  bereaved families. Ruto urged KCAA to conduct investigations and reveal the cause of the crash.

“I want to send my deepest condolences to the families of the victims, it was unfortunate that the crash happened here, I want the KCAA to give us a full report on the cause of the crash,” he said. Last year, a FlySax plane crashed on the edge of Aberdares mountain range, killing 10 people.

In October 2017, five passengers were killed when a helicopter crashed into Lake Nakuru, while in 2012 a helicopter carrying Internal Security Minister George Saitoti crashed, killing all six passengers on board.

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