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Kenya Air Force aircraft crashes in Tsavo East National Park

A Kenya Air Force aircraft on Tuesday mid-morning crashed at Irima area in Tsavo East National Park.

Taita Taveta County Police Commander Patrick Okeri confirmed the crash and said crime scene specialists had already secured the scene for processing. He added that KDF investigators had arrived from Defense Headquarters to establish the cause of the tragedy.

“There was a crash. The scene is already secured. Further details will be provided by the Department of Defense,” he said.

Official KDF Facebook Page and Twitter handle issued a brief post over the incident that included the model of the plane, the crash site and the departure port of the ill-fated plane.

The report however remained mute on the officers aboard the aircraft. Unconfirmed reports allege there were four officers on board at the time of the crash whose fate remains unknown.

The aircraft, a Harbin Y-12, had taken off from Moi Airbase, Eastleigh in Nairobi in the morning hours headed to Voi over an undisclosed mission.

While the details of the crash remain scanty, initial reports indicate that a contingent of police officers from Voi Police Station, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers and KDF officers were rapidly mobilized after the crash and rushed to the scene to coordinate the recovery operations.

Tuesday’s crash is the fourth crash reported involving the plane model within the last 17 years. According to Wikipedia, there have been three other accidents associated with Y-12 aircrafts models in Kenya.

In 2006, a Kenya Airforce Y-12 model smashed against a mountainside killing 14 out of 17 people on board.  In 2014, another Y-12 plane crashed in El-Wak killing a pilot and seriously injuring 11 others on board. In August last year, another plane crashed after taking off from Dhobley Airstrip in Somalia. The ten occupants aboard survived though the plane was severely damaged.

By Wagema Mwangi

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