Light police aircraft crashes in eastern Kenya

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Meru (Kenya) – A light Kenyan police aircraft, ferrying a security team to a meeting, crash-landed in the eastern region of Meru early Saturday, the Police and witnesses said.

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The police aircraft, which was en-route to Marsabit in northern Kenya, crashed at Kaithe Kithoka in Meru after developing mechanical problems.

Police Air-wing Commandant, Rodgers Mbithi, said the pilot in the ill-fated chopper and himself left Wilson airport in Nairobi with two choppers heading for the meeting.

“I have talked to the pilot and he, with the others, who were on board are okay and are in stable condition,’’ he said of the aircraft, which carried six people including the pilot.

Mbithi, who was on a different aircraft, said he managed to fly to Garissa and Wajir in the northeast region to pick up his team.

It is not clear if the meeting will go on.

Witnesses said the chopper hovered over the same spot before crashing minutes after it had taken off from an airstrip.

Police said the injured were rushed to the hospital in the area in stable condition and there were plans to transfer them to Nairobi.

The scheduled meeting was to solve a number of security issues in the Marsabit region which is prone to cattle rustling and inter-communal conflicts.

The crashed chopper is an AgustaWestland AW119 and is among the new fleets acquired by police.

It is suspected that bad weather caused the crash.

Aviation officials have launched investigations into the incident.

(Xinhua/NAN)


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