Kenyan crew perish in plane crash

August 13, 2008 12:00 am

, MOGADISHU, August 13 – A Fly 540 aircraft delivering miraa from Kenya to Somalia crashed south of Mogadishu Wednesday, killing all three crew members on board, an airport official and witnesses told AFP.

"There was a lot of humidity in the airport area, the plane circled twice over the landing zone, eventually hit a telephone line two kilometres (1.2 miles) away and crashed," K-50 airport official Bashir Hasan said.

"We rushed to the scene but unfortunately we couldn’t find anybody alive. We collected the burnt remains of three people," he said, adding he believed two of the victims were Kenyans and the other an Arab national.

"We discovered the bodies of three men and they seem to be the crew of the plane," said Mohamed Abdullahi Nur, a khat trader.

Abdi Farah Moalim, another witness, was near the site of the crash and said he saw three charred bodies being retrieved from the wreckage.

Light aircrafts deliver khat, a mild narcotic leaf that is very popular in Somalia, every day at K-50 and other airstrips around Mogadishu.

A statement from the airline confirmed the accident attributing it to bad weather around Mogadishu North Airport (known as K50 Airport).

“The crew consisted of two pilots and an engineer and there were no passengers. We are concerned for the safety of our staff and a rescue team is flying to Mogadishu,” the statement said in part.

“We are still gathering the facts and we are working with the aviation authorities. Our crisis management plan has been activated.”



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