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Why family of Ruto’s pilot have refused to bury his remains

The family of a captain, who frequently flew Deputy President William Ruto, has refused to bury his burnt remains, claiming the remains cannot be identified as the late pilot’s body.

Captain Mario Magonga was the pilot of a helicopter which crashed in Lake Turkana on the evening of March 3, killing all the five on board.

According to the family, the remains they were given cannot be identified as his body. The body of the four American who died alongside Captain Mario have however been identified.


According to reports in the Sunday Nation, the US embassy in Nairobi issued a statement after the crash, identifying the Americans as Anders Asher Jesiah Burke, Brandon Howe Stapper, David Mark Baker, and Kyle John Forti.

The family has requested the US embassy in Nairobi to help investigate what brought down the helicopter and resolve the puzzle of Mario’s body.

“The bodies of the four American tourists were positively identified but it was very difficult to tell the remains of the fifth person as that of Capt Mario.  The remains were charred beyond recognition,” Capt Magonga’s uncle Ibrahim wrote to the new United States ambassador to Kenya Kyle McCarter on March 8.


The helicopter crashed near Lobolo in Central Island National Park at 8.35pm on March 3rd, 2019. The wreckage of the aircraft and the pilot’s body were located on Monday at 2 am.

The pilot’s colleagues, friends, and family have however said he hardly flew at night when conditions are treacherous for helicopters to operate.

The kin also wants detectives to help unravel the nature of business of the Americans, the individuals that the pilot last spoke to and who ordered him to fly at night.

Report by Nyambega Gisesa, Kipchumba Some, Ibrahim Oruko, Nyaboga Kiage and Gerald Bwisa