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List Of The Worst Plane Accidents In Kenya

by John Nyabuto

This is a list of the worst plane accidents to ever happen in Kenya.  Kenya’s aviation sector has been relatively safe, at least in the recent past, with the country’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, being hit by two mass casualty plane crashes since its inception.

Private planes and copters have not been hit as much with accidents but when these accidents happen, its nothing but death and sorrow. Plane accidents history dates back to 1978 when the then agriculture minister Bruce Mackenzie died when the plane he was travelling in crashed in the then extensively dense Ngong Hills Forest.

Other worse accidents like the one involving the National carrier, Kenya Airways which crashed in a mangrove swamp South-east of Douala and killed all the 114 occupants have happened and many more others.

Here is an inclusive list of the worst plane accidents to ever happen in Kenya, including all the Kenyan planes which have crashed before outside our borders.

1. KQ flight 431 Crash In Atlantic Ocean 

This is one of the worst air disasters in Kenya and the aviation industry. 30th January 2000; a KQ flight 431 was on a flight headed to Nairobi when the disaster struck at around 9:00 PM killing 169 people out of the 179 people who were on board.

Ten seconds after lifting off the ground from the airport, the stall warning sounded and prolonged for about 20 seconds before being manually turned off by the crew. Three seconds later this passenger plane crashed into the Atlantic ocean just a few metres from Abidjan, Felix Houphouet Boigny airport, at the Ivory Coast. Majority of the victims who perished during the incident were Nigerians at 84, 20 Kenyans, and the rest from different countries across the world.

The families of the victims were by Kenya Airways and out of all the ten survivors, only one was a Kenyan.

 

2. KQA507 Boeing B737-800 (5Y-KYA) Crash In A Mangrove swamp In Cameroon

On a chilly night of  04th May 2007, the B737-800, registration 5Y-KYA, left the Abidjan international airport headed to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport  in Nairobi and made a scheduled stop-over at the Douala international airport before continuing with the flight despite the evidently stormy weather. There were 114 occupants on board. Shortly after takeoff, the plane went on a spiral dive and came nosediving dangerously in a mangrove swamp killing all the people on board.

The incident happened at exactly 0008 hrs. The 6 crew members were all Kenyans while the rest were as follows;

 

Nationality​​ 

 

Number Of Casualties

 

Cameroonians

 

37

 

Indians

 

15

 

South Africans​​ 

 

7

 

Ivorians​​ 

 

6

 

Nigerians​​ 

 

6

 

Britons​​ 

 

5

 

Chinese​​ 

 

5

 

Kenyans​​ 

 

3

 

Niger Nationals​​ 

 

3

 

Central Africans​​ 

 

2

 

Congolese (DRC)​​ 

 

2

 

Equitorial Guineans

 

2

 

American​​ 

 

1

 

Burkinabe

 

1

 

Comorian

 

2

 

Congolese

 

1

 

South Korean

 

1

 

Egyptians

 

1

 

Ghanaian

 

1

 

Malian

 

1

 

Mauritian

 

1

 

Senegalese

 

1

 

Swedish

 

1

 

Swiss

 

1

 

Tanzanian

 

1

 

Togolese

 

1

 

Site of crash for KQA507 Boeing B737-800 (5Y-KYA) at a swamp

 

3. Military Helicopter Crash in Kaloleni

This one accident will go down the record books in Kenya for the highest fatality number from a plane crash in the Kenyan airspace. It happened in 1992 and 46 people died, 20 of them being military men and six more were killed on the ground.

 

4. Bruce Mackenzie’s Helicopter Crash

Bruce Mckenzie, the then agriculture minister and the only white person in Jomo Kenyatta’s cabinet died in 1978 after his plane blew up and crashed in Ngong Hills. Mackenzie was, as a matter of fact, a South African who had settled in Kenya and he was believed to be a British and Israeli spy and his death was widely suspected to have been orchestrated by Ugandan agents who planted a bomb in his aircraft.

He is believed to have played a role in the famous Israeli Airforce raid on Entebbe and its believed that Idi Amin was on revenge.

Bruce Mackenzie

 

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5. Chopper Crash In Kibiku Forest; Ngong 

This crash robbed us one of Kenya’s most powerful and fierce politicians. The chopper was headed to Ndhiwa where then Internal security minister George Saitoti and his assistant minister Orwa Ojode were headed for a fundraising. All the six occupants died including two pilots and two bodyguards. There was a wide superstition that June was a dark month in the Kenyan calendar and when this incident happened on 10th June 2012, many people confirmed their fears.

George Saitoti was a fierce minister who was the main architect of Kenya’s military campaign in Somalia and he was a leading presidential candidate for the elections which were coming up in a year. Many speculations were raised after carbon monoxide was traced in the pilot’s lungs on whether Saitoti had died before the accident even happened or he died immediately after the crash but the accident was blamed on the bad weather.

 

6. Naivasha Plane Accident

A light plane crashed on September 8, 2016, in Naivasha as the occupants toured the town. The occupants were in Naivasha to mourn the death of a friend when the incident occurred. According to onlookers, the plane started spinning in the sky rapidly before crashing a few kilometres from the airstrip in a sanctuary farm and then burst into flames thereafter.

Five of the six occupants survived but one, a Polish tourist died on the spot while the Kenyan pilot sustained high degree burns and was airlifted to Nairobi for specialized treatment.

Police view the wreckage of a light plane that crashed in Naivasha

 

7. Military Flight Y-12 Crash

This military plane was flying politicians to Marsabit for a peace meeting after the pilot’s visibility was blurred by bad weather and crashed.

On board was Bonaya Godana who was foreign affairs minister, assistant internal security minister Mirugi Kariuki, regional development authorities assistant minister Titus Ngoyoni and MPs Abdi Sasura and Guracha Boru. 14 people died and three others survived.

 

8. Cessna 210E Crash at Enoosupukia

The light aircraft in question was carrying the then Bomet Constituency MP Kipkalya Kones, Assistant Minister of Home Affairs Lorna Laboso on 10 June 2008 and they were going to Kericho to help in the organisation of logistics for an ODM candidate who was vying in a by-election in Ainamoi. The charter aircraft crashed  20 minutes after takeoff into the high ground over the Mau escarpment in conditions of poor visibility. It crashed into a building in Kajonga in Enoosupukia near Narok and killed the minister, the MP together with the pilot and a bodyguard.

Onlookers at the site of the plane crash that killed former ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso

 

9. Lake Nakuru Plane Crash 

This is one of the most recent incidents of plane crashes in Kenya which happened on 21 October 2017. The helicopter; 5Y-NMJ crashed just a few minutes after taking off from Jarika County Lodge in Nakuru killing all the five occupants inside.

Around forty divers were tasked to retrieve the bodies in the rescue mission but only three bodies were found, one for the pilot another one for Susan Kihika’s aide and the other one a student; Veronica Muthoni and the two other bodies were never found.

It was all emotions and tears as the families of the two went for a burial with no coffins and no bodies to lay down the grave, just flowers on the eastern side of the lake. During the poignant sendoff, the families of the ones who were never found had to accept the bitter fact that the lake had swallowed their loved ones forever.

The wreckage of a helicopter that crashed into Lake Nakuru

 

10. FlySax Cesna C208 Crash

This is the most recent one, happening barely a week ago. This light aircraft took off from the Kitale airstrip and it was expected to fly for around an hour and 20 minutes before landing in JKIA at 5:20 pm on 5th of June 2018. On board this plane were eight passengers and 2 crew members.

Cesna C208 went off JKIA’s radar at  5:20 pm when it was supposed to land. Earlier that Thursday, a surveillance helicopter spotted the wreckage of the plane near Njabini town on the edge of the Aberdares mountain range and a rescue team was dispatched where they found all the occupants dead.

The wreck of the Sax plane

 

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