, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 14 – A police officer was killed and another seriously wounded when a Cessna plane they were flying in crashed and exploded into flames moments after taking off from Wilson Airport late Monday, police and witnesses said.
Witnesses told Capital News they saw the plane flying very low before it crashed at an open field near Five Star estate in Nairobi’s South C area.
“I was headed to the shop when I heard a loud blast and we rushed to check only to find two people struggling to get out of the plane wreckage as it exploded into flames,” John Kemboi, a witness who helped in the rescue mission said.
“One of the people was walking and was even talking but the other person was in a bad condition because he had been burnt.”
Mr Kemboi said they asked a taxi driver to rush the two to hospital and started putting out the fire “before it could spread to the neighbouring estate.”
“It was by the grace of God that it did not crash and explode on the nearby estate and shops,” another witness said.
Officers at the Kenya Police Airwing located at the Wilson Airport said the plane crashed at 7.20 pm shortly after take off.
Senior officers from the Airwing who visited the scene were not willing to comment on the matter, only confirming that it was a 20-seater Cesna 404.
“You will get a statement from the Police Headquarters. We don’t have anything to tell you now,” a senior officer said.
Firefighters from the City Council and the airports fire engine department helped to put out the fire before it could spread further.
“Everything is safe now. There is no cause to worry because it (fire) has been contained,” one of the fire fighters said.
One of the casualties was admitted to the Nairobi hospital and his condition was said to be stable, according to a police officer who saw him.
Monday’s incident was the second this year involving a police aircraft which is also reported to be poorly maintained.
The first incident which occurred earlier this year involved a Police helicopter which land crashed in Kapsabet, killing a police officer who had travelled alongside Internal Security Permanent Secretary Francis Kimemia.
Immediate former Police Commissioner Maj Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali, Internal Security Assistant Minister Mr Orwa Ojode, journalists and senior ministry officials were in the ill-fated police helicopter which went down shortly after take off from the Kapsabet town.