NAIROBI, Kenya, March 18 – There was a major scare after a military helicopter carrying President Mwai Kibaki aborted taking off after it developed mechanical problems.,
The Head of State who was on a meet the people tour of the larger Kisii District, was forced to change helicopters at Marani shopping centre after the engine started emitting thick smoke.
"It is a slight mechanical breakdown and we have launched investigations to establish the cause. We suspect it’s a case of an overheated engine,” a military officer at the scene said.
The Department of Defence immediately issued a statement to assure Kenyans that President Kibaki was not exposed to any danger during the mishap.
In a statement, Spokesman Bogita Ongeri said the Puma helicopter experienced malfunction on take off.
“This afternoon at around 1300 hrs local time, one of the two engines of the military Puma helicopter which was ferrying H.E the President from Marani to Kibabe in Kisii North District experienced a malfunction on take off. On noticing this, the pilot elected to land immediately as is the drill in such situations, throughout this phase of the flight the President was not exposed to any danger,” he said.
President Kibaki who was on the second day of a meet the people tour in Kisii continued with his busy schedule holding several public rallies.
“The President was transferred to the support helicopter which flew him safely to Kibabe ensuring that he was on time for his programme,” Mr Ongeri said.
Addressing a crowd at Nyamarambe play grounds, President Kibaki called on leaders to shun diversionary politics and instead focus on rendering services to Kenyans in line with the policies of the grand Coalition Government.
He said political inclinations should not be a barrier for leaders to work together in achieving the development agenda.