Police HQ defends pilots after crashed chopper

September 20, 2016 4:45 pm
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The chopper with a capacity of 15 passengers had clocked 214 hours at the time it was delivered to Nairobi in April this year, raising questions on its condition/FILE
The chopper with a capacity of 15 passengers had clocked 214 hours at the time it was delivered to Nairobi in April this year, raising questions on its condition/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – The Kenya Police is on the spot following reports that a pilot who was flying a chopper that crashed earlier this month was not qualified, and that he may have failed requisite tests by the manufacturer that supplied the Augusta139.

The claims were published by local newspaper The Star on Tuesday—exposing what appears to be the rot in the security agency’s Airwing department based at Wilson Airport.

The publication prompted Police Headquarters to make public certificates of the two pilots Martin Ndung’u and Dennis Oduk—both Inspectors of Police who were flying the chopper that went down in Mathare slum in Nairobi on September 8.

“Those reports are false and malicious,” Police Spokesman Charles Owino told Capital FM News on telephone, to which he provided the certificates of the two pilots to prove they had clocked the required flight hours during training, and were certified to fly the specific plane—and more sophisticated ones.

He was responding to the newspaper’s claim that Inspector Oduk is the one who was in the controls at the time it went down, yet he did not qualify.

“The truth of the matter is that at the time it went down, it is actually Inspector Ndung’u who was in control,” he said. “But then it doesn’t mean that Oduk was not qualified because both have similar qualifications and were trained by the manufacturer AugustaWestland in South Africa and Italy.

Sources quoting investigators who have analysed flight data from the crashed chopper said, it is Oduk who was in control.

They said statements taken from the two pilots showed they had given contradictory information on who was in actual control at the time it crashed.

The flight data recorder has been dispatched to the United States for further analysis as investigators seek to establish what led to the accident that left three police officers and an official from the aircraft manufacturer wounded.

Inspector Ndung’u, the official from the firm and a police constable are still hospitalized while Oduk was treated and discharged.

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