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Pilots perish in light aircraft crash at Mlima Kofia Mbaya in Marsabit

Two persons have been confirmed dead following a light aircraft crash at MT Marsabit Shrine area on the outskirts of Marsabit town this morning.

Marsabit county police Commander Samuel Mutunga said those who perished in the crash were the pilot and his copilot, the only occupants in the fixed wing Cessna 208 caravan aircraft.

The duo died on the spot in the 10 am accident involving the plane that had left Wilson airport earlier in the day.

Mr Mutunga added that what brought down the aircraft could not be immediately established though bad weather could not be ruled out as it was foggy.

The county police commander said that the plane’s mission in the county was not very clear but other sources indicate that the plane was to airlift certain leaders from Marsabit town for a peace building meeting and a nutrition intervention in Ileret ward.

He dismissed rumours on social media alleging that aircraft registration 5Y JKN and operated by AERONAV company was ferrying national examination materials adding that it had also no education officials on board.

The scene of the accident has been condoned off by the police as investigations commenced to ascertain the cause of the crash that happened meters away from the Catholic Church Shrine.

According to eye witness, the aircraft was first seen hovering in an unstable manner around the hills which are associated with plane disasters before it nose-dived hitting the tip of the Kofia Mbaya hill and then spilled over for about 100 meters into a thicket down the hill.

Luckily, the plane which narrowly missed homesteads in the locality did not burst into flames but was reduced into a wreck.

The crash attracted hundreds of local residents who rushed to the scene upon receiving the news of the accident.

The survival kit content list of the aircraft indicated that it was prepared and checked last in March 20th of last year while further scrutiny located a document from the cockpit area with details about a student pilot from the Kenya School of Flying at Wilson airport but whose validity expired on 31st December, 2020.

The black box was retrieved and taken away by detectives from the directorate of criminal investigations (DCI).

The badly damaged bodies of the deceased which had been removed from the wreckage by members of the public as they tried to rescue were taken to the Marsabit county referral hospital mortuary awaiting postmortem.

According to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kenya Forest Service the settlement on the hills was mere encroachment into a gazetted forest conservation area.

by Sebastian Miriti

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