Monday, November 9, 2009

Two killed as plane crashes at Wilson Airport

The cargo plane crashed into the airport’s fence and burst into flames before landing onto a ditch near the runway.

The cargo plane crashed into the Nairobi Wilson airport fence and burst into flames before landing onto a ditch near the runway. At the background are newly constructed residential houses. 

A cargo plane on Monday killed two crew members when it crashed at Wilson Airport, Nairobi.

The pilot died as he was being taken to Kenyatta National Hospital, while his co-pilot later died at the Nairobi Hospital where he had been admitted in critical condition.

They were transporting miraa to Quarrel airport in Mogadishu, when their plane developed a problem at around 8am on Monday, according to airport officials who had been in touch with the pilot moments before the accident.

They said the crew decided to return to crash-land at the airport after being airborne for about two hours. But the plane crashed into the airport’s fence and burst into flames before landing onto a ditch near the runway.

The accident, which involved a small cargo aircraft, continues to raise doubts about the safety of planes taking off and landing at the airport.

It was the fourth plane tragedy to have occurred near the airport – whose runway borders the Nairobi National Park, on one side, and human settlements, on the other – in the last four months.

Last September, a light police aircraft on a routine training mission crashed and burst into flames near the airport, injuring two officers who were on board.

The two were a pilot and his student were both police officers attached to the Police Air Wing unit based at the airport.

And barely 12 hours later, another small plane crash-landed into the Nairobi National Park moments after taking off from the airport.

In August, a plane carrying an American film crew crashed into a house at the nearby Nyayo Highrise estate, killing the pilot.

Despite these accidents raising concerns about the safety of the facility, the national regulator of airspace safety, the Kenya Airports Authority and the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, have not taken any visible action.

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