NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Four crew members were killed on Wednesday morning as the cargo plane they were travelling in from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport crashed into a building in Utawala, Embakasi.,
Nairobi Police Chief Benson Kibui told Capital FM News that the plane which was destined for Mogadishu had taken off at about 4am before it came down.
Search efforts were underway to ascertain if there were more casualties in the building.
“A Fokker 50 cargo plane with 4 people on board has this morning crashed at a commercial building in Utawala after taking off from JKIA,” The Kenya Airports Authority said.
The plane crashed before dawn on Wednesday, a time when the building was largely empty, and no other casualties have been reported.
An AFP photographer at the scene said the plane had smashed into a low-rise building containing small stores and shops, some three kilometres from the airport.
“All four on board perished… it hit an electric post before crashing on a building and bursting into flames,” a senior police officer said.
Smoke rose from the smashed front wall of the one-storey concrete building, some of which appeared to be still under construction.
The area around the airport includes a mix of both industrial zones with factories, as well as housing and shops.
Airports Authority security chief Eric Kiraithe said the airport was briefly closed for “a few minutes as a matter of procedure”, but had now opened.
“The airport is now operating normally,” he said.
Police and security forces sealed off the area around the plane, which had been flying to Somalia with a cargo of khat, a herbal stimulant.
Khat, also called miraa, has been chewed for centuries in the Horn of Africa.
Regular flights deliver the leaves – which must be eaten fresh – daily to Somalia.