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Kenya Air Force aircraft from Nairobi crashes in Voi

By Lucy Mkanyika January 12th, 2021 1 min read

Several KDF airmen are feared dead following the crash of a Kenya Air Force aircraft in Voi, Taita Taveta County, mid Tuesday morning.

Via Twitter, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) said the aircraft, model Harbin Y-12, was heading from Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi County, when the accident took place.

“Recovery efforts are underway,” it said, without stating the number of people who were on board.

However, witnesses said four bodies were retrieved from the scene.

Reached by phone, KDF Spokesperson Col. Zipporah Kioko did not give details but said a statement would be issued.

Initial reports stated that the officers were headed to Voi to pick up a senior KDF officer.

Probe launched

A source taking part in the operations said the aircraft crashed at Mrima Hill within Tsavo East National Park.

The recovery efforts, which were completed in the evening, were by KDF, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and police.

Taita Taveta County Police Commander Patrick Okeri said the scene was secured and investigations launched by the KDF.

“Investigators are on the ground to establish the cause of the incident. Details will be disclosed by the Department of Defence,” he said.

Safety concerns

Since 2006, this is the fourth crash involving aircraft of the Harbin Y-12 model, which raises concerns about its safety.

In 2006, one crashed on a hill in Marsabit, killing 14 people.

In 2014, one person was killed and 11 injured when an aircraft of the same model crashed shortly after taking off from El Wak Airport in Mandera County.

In August last year, a similar aircraft crashed at Dhobley Airstrip in Somalia. Its 10 occupants escaped unhurt but the aircraft was seriously damaged.

KDF last year announced plans to acquire three Italy-manufactured Spartan aircraft to replace aircraft of the Harbin Y-12 model. The first one was delivered late last year.