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Crashed Kenya Air Force aircraft was headed to Mombasa to pick KDF boss – officials reveal

Kenya Air Force aircraft

The Kenya Air Force aircraft that crashed and killed four people on board in Voi, Taita Taveta County was headed for Mombasa to pick up a senior military officer.

Officials aware of the plans said the plane had been dispatched from Nairobi to Mombasa to pick up the Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) of Kenya Defence Forces Lt General Levi Mghalu who was at the coast.

“It had not reached its intended destination,” said an official aware of the incident who asked not to be named.

Witnesses said it crashed on a hill in the Tsavo East area prompting one wing to be burnt and killing all the four who were on board.

Officials said those on board included a major, captain and two servicemen.

Police and officials from Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rushed to the scene moments later and cordoned it before picking up the bodies.

Lt Gen Mghalu was later flown to the scene in a KWS chopper, witnesses said.

He later proceeded to Nairobi in a different chopper.

The incident happened at about 11 am on Tuesday.

The Harbin Y-12, crashed in Voi, Taita Taveta County as it cruised from Moi Air Base, Eastleigh, Nairobi.

Locals said they saw many ambulances rush to the scene of the incident as it was cordoned off.

Department of Defence spokeswoman Col Ziporah Kioko said recovery efforts of the scene was completed.

Harbin Y-12 or Yunshuji-12 is a twin-engine light multi-role aircraft designed and developed by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation (HAMC) of China.

The Y-12 is principally used for both passenger and cargo transportation.

The maiden flight of the aircraft was completed in July 1982.

The military has been losing its fleet of planes in accidents.

The military has taken over management of police, KWS and other state-owned planes in a plan to consolidate their fleet in what officials term as efforts to have a central command.

Last month, President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the official handover to the military the management of government civilian-owned planes in the country.

He later launched the National Air Support Department (NASD) at Wilson Airport in Nairobi County.

NASD is a multi-agency unit created to consolidate and ensure efficient utilization of national aviation assets.

It will see all planes owned by the Kenya police, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Power, Kenya Pipeline, Ketraco among others transferred and managed by personnel from the Kenya Air Force.

Even though officials said the move is aimed at only managing procurement and maintenance aspects of the planes, insiders said a military Brigadier is in charge of the new outfit based at the Wilson Airport, Nairobi under the multi-agency arrangement.

Brig Chrispin Odhiambo of the Kenya Airforce and formerly of the National Defence College is the new commandant of the outfit and is deputized by the National Police Service Airwing commandant Col. (Rtd) Rodgers Mbithi.

-The Star

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