Flysax plane crash: Long wait then bombshell - Daily Nation

Long wait then bombshell, crushing hopes of victims’ relatives

Friday June 8 2018

plane crash

Bodies of the passengers who died in a plane crash are carried away from Kinangop forest on June 7, 2018. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By STELLA CHERONO
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By BARNABAS BII
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The Bogol Ballroom at the Weston Hotel was silent for a moment, and then the voice of a woman.

She prayed for resilience, strength and peace for the families of the victims of the ill-fated flight.

When she said Amen, she led them in a chorus but their voices were haggard from the anxiety and long wait for a word concerning the fate of their loved ones.

At every corner of the room, Red Cross personnel, counsellors and Fly Sax strategically stood.

Finally, the woman paved way for an official announcement. It was outright.

“It is with a heavy heart that we receive information from the teams reaching the crash site that there are no survivors,” Fly Sax Chairman Charles Wako said.

PAIN
Before he could add a word, the whole room burst into screams, tears and wails.

Then one by one, the relatives of the deceased moved out of the room, tears flowing freely.

“Jesus, where will I get another husband? Who will take care of my children? God, why have you forsaken me, I trusted in you? !!!!” A woman wailed on the floor.

Ms Margaret Wanjiru Kinyua later said her husband, George Kinyua Ngugi, was a businessman and had travelled to Eldoret the same day then later to Kitale for business.

“He called me at 3.39pm and we spoke at length. He said he was about to board the flight back to Nairobi. He then asked me how the children were doing,” Mrs Kinyua said.

“We spoke until the time he was boarding. At 5pm when he was supposed to have landed, I called him but his phone was off. I kept calling him persistently but it was still not going through,” she said.

BREAKING NEWS
At 7.57pm, she received a message from her husband's phone, acknowledging that she had tried to call him.

She called back, but the phone was not going through again.

“Another ‘You tried calling’ message came at 8.04pm and again, I called but the phone was off. Later on, I saw breaking news on the television and it indicated that the flight was missing,” Mrs Kinyua said.

She has since been hopeful that her husband would be found alive. “Part of me told me he was fine, and then this news came,” she said.

She profiled her husband of 12 years as a staunch Christian who was hardworking and did anything for their nine-year old son, four-year old daughter and a nine-month old daughter.

PARENT
The family of Robinson Wafula termed him as a hardworking and gentle businessman who cared for the whole family.

Wafula’s sister, Ms Charity Wafula, said he left their home in Bungoma and was heading to Nairobi where he does business.

She said her 30-year-old brother called them on Tuesday morning and confirmed that he would be travelling to Nairobi on the flight.

“At around 7pm, we heard news that the flight was missing,” Ms Charity said.

She said her brother, the first born in the family, has a five-year-old son.

PASSENGERS
The Cessna C208 aircraft, registration number 5Y-CAC, operated by Fly Sax, left a Kitale airstrip in Trans-Nzoia County at 4.05pm Tuesday for Nairobi but lost contact with the control tower at 5.20pm.

On board were the pilot, Captain Barbra Wangeci Kamau, First Officer Jean Mureithi and eight passengers — Ahmed Ali Abdi, Karaba Sailah Waweru Muiga, Khetia Kishani, Matakasakaraia Thamani, Matakatekei Paula, Ngugi George Kinyua, Pinuertorn Ronald and Wafula Robinson.

Mr Kishan Khetia, 29, was a prominent entrepreneur of Asian origin running a chain of supermarkets – Khetia Supermarkets in Western Kenya.

According to family members, Mr Kishan has been making frequent business flights from either Kitale airstrip or Eldoret International airport to Nairobi.

“He was in jovial mood when he left home to board the plane to Nairobi. It is hard to belief that he is among those who perished in the crash until we see his body,” Ashok Khetia, uncle to Mr Kishan, said on phone.