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Pilot of chopper that killed Susan Kihika’s team in Nakuru was drunk – CS Macharia

The pilot flying the ill-fated helicopter carrying Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika communication team that crashed into Lake Nakuru on October 21, 2017 was under the influence of alcohol.

This was revealed by an accident report released on Wednesday by Transport CS James Macharia.

The report say that the helicopter “collided with the water surface due to loss of situation awareness by the pilot, who was under the influence of alcohol as depicted from the toxicology results”.

The pilot, captain Apollo Malowa, failed to recognise the loss of altitude, excessive banking to the left and obstacle proximity from the aircraft, adds the report.


The Flex Air Limited helicopter type AS 350 B3, registration 5Y-NMJ crashed into Lake Nakuru water on the fateful morning of Saturday October 21 at 6:37am. The pilot and all his four passengers died.

Families and friends of the two missing Lake Nakuru chopper crash victims Sam Gitau and John Mapozi pay their last respects during their memorial service at the Lake Nakuru National Park on February 10, 2018. PHOTO: AYUB MUIYURO/NAKURU

The bodies of captain Malowa, Ms Veronicah Muthoni and Anthony Kipyegon were retrieved after 25 of search and rescue; the bodies of Mr Sam Gitau and Mr John Mapozi -both part of Ms Kihika’s communication team- were never found.

“It took more than 25 days to locate and retrieve the wreckage of the helicopter and recover three bodies of persons on board. The search for two other bodies on board the helicopter was however unsuccessful even after the search was extended for several days later,” said Transport CS James Macharia.

During his burial in Lenya village in Bondo sub-county, , Malowa’s mother Dorothy Malowa described her son as a hardworking, disciplined and honest young man who had a promising career and future.

Veronicah was then a 22-year-old fresh graduate from Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology.

She had finished a certificate course in Catering in 2016 and was on a job hunting mission in Nakuru town before she met her death, according to her family.