NAIROBI, September 9 – Pilot error and poor weather were the probable causes of the plane crash that killed Ministers Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso in June, according to a probe report.,
A team led by the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents Department Peter Wakahia, reported Tuesday that a poor flight plan and bad weather played a role in the Narok crash on June 10.
Engineer Wakahia said the plane came down amid poor visibility caused by fog on Kojong’a Hills
All the four occupants aboard the Cessna 210 E aircraft operated by Skytrades Limited, perished barely 20 minutes after it took off from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport.
“We have determined that the most probable cause of this accident was the Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT),” he said.
He explained that a CFIT refers to an incident where a perfectly airworthy plane flies into a terrain under the control of the pilot and added that it was a common phenomenon that accounts for more than half of the accidents that occur worldwide.
While presenting the report to Transport Minister Ali Mwakwere, Wakahia showed a simulation of the flight and pointed out that the pilot chose to fly north instead of south, making it difficult for air traffic controllers to pick out the flight on radar.
The five-member panel that included Mathioya Member of Parliament Eng Clement Wambugu was appointed in June. It completed its findings within the 90-day deadline.
Mwakwere said he would present the report to the Cabinet and Parliament for further consideration.
“The report will eventually be made public in full detail,” he added.
The team was mandated to make recommendations on measures that can be taken to avert similar accidents in future.
It made seven safety recommendations, among them, proposing that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) should take measures to increase awareness of the CFIT problem, to implement preventive measures and also increase surveillance to its certificate holders to ensure compliance with the terms of the certificate.
“KCAA should also improve its VHF coverage and consider restricting the use of aviation licenses issued to foreigners to non-commercial activities,” the report said.
The other suggestion was for the government to develop standards to regulate group travel for senior government officials.
Meanwhile, the government said it was still awaiting a report into the May 2007 Kenya Airways crash in Douala, Cameroon.
Mwakwere said the Cameroonian authorities had promised to release the report to the Kenyan government ‘as soon as possible’.
He explained that many organisations, countries and institutions had to give their input and that was one of the reasons why it had taken long before details into the accident that claimed 114 lives were released.