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Tanzanian police probe tragic crash of Kalonzo’s chopper

Tanzania has launched investigations into a helicopter crash that killed a ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) parliamentary candidate on Thursday.

The Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) is also investigating reports that the helicopter belonging to Cord co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka was burning as it fell.

The investigations are also aimed at unravelling the cause of the fatal accident, according to the TCAA.

Witnesses said the aircraft was on fire as it crashed.

CCM had hired the helicopter for campaigns ahead of Sunday’s elections.

In a statement, the TCAA said it had received information that the helicopter was on fire when it crashed.

Mr Kalonzo’s office on Monday confirmed that the helicopter, AS-35 labelled 5Y-DKK, belonged to him.

Mr Deo Filikunjombe, a CCM candidate for Ludewa, was killed during the crash alongside Kasablanka Haule and Egid Mkwela.

The pilot, Captain William Silaa, also died.

The statement said the TCAA was working with owners of the helicopter to establish what went wrong.

Chanzo cha ajali hiyo hakijafahamika ambapo wataalam wa uchunguzi wa ajali za ndege wanaendelea na uchunguzi ili kubaini chanzo chake (the cause of the accident has not been established but experts have launched investigations),” TCAA said.

Mr Filikunjombe, 43, was defending the seat he won in 2010. He was among MPs who did not shy away from criticising outgoing President Jakaya Kikwete over corruption.

The helicopter crashed at Selous Game Reserve. It left Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam at 3.50pm on Thursday with the four passengers.