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Kenya leaders in chopper crash

KAPSABET, Kenya, May 11 – A police helicopter on a security tour of the Rift Valley province crash-landed on Monday, injuring several dignitaries including Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali.

Those on board the police chopper included Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode, Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan, senior police officers and journalists who had accompanied them in the tour.

The Police Commissioner said four people were injured in the mishap.

“Unfortunately we had an accident on take-off, we are not sure but it’s like loss of power,” he said in an interview.

 “As of now the people who are injured are four. Two of them have injuries to the head. The rest have minor injuries,” he added.

The Police bosses were on a security tour of the region and were scheduled to inaugurate newly established police stations in the area.

“It is nothing life threatening and nothing serious. Thank God it is not as serious as it could have been. The pilot really tried,” he said.

Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti escaped the accident as he was aboard a different helicopter.

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One of the officers on board the plane told Capital News it developed mechanical problems soon after take off.

“The plane had just taken off, and before it could stabilise, it was announced to us that there was a problem. Within seconds, it came down but we managed to come out of it,” a police officer who survived the crash said, and requested not to be named.

NTV Cameraman Orto Sori who survived the crash told Capital News that they were due to be airlifted to Nairobi after receiving first aid at the Kapsabet District Hospital.

“We are fine, we only sustained minor injuries but we are okay,” he said on telephone from Kapsabet.

Police Spokesman Erick Kiraithe said: “Survivors who sustained minor injuries have received first aid treatment and are due to arrive in Nairobi anytime this afternoon.”

The cause of the accident was not immediately established but survivors said it could have lost power soon after take-off.

Kenyan military and police helicopters have suffered repeated mishaps. On March 18, President Mwai Kibaki was forced to abandon an army chopper that developed a mechanical problem while on a tour in the countryside.

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