‘Missing’ Ugandan choppers sighted in Mt Kenya forest

August 13, 2012 7:03 am
Police said efforts were being made to reach the aircraft even though the terrain was rough/AFP FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 13 – One of the three Ugandan helicopters that went missing over Kenyan airspace on Sunday has reportedly been sighted within Mount Kenya forest.

Police said efforts were being made to reach the aircraft even though the terrain was rough.

“We have received reports that one of the plane is within Mt Kenya,” Francis Munyambu, the police chief for Central Province said on telephone.

He said rescue and recovery teams had been dispatched to the general location where the Mi-24 Russian-made helicopter was reportedly sighted.

“We do not know where exactly it is… there is a general location that has been stated and our team has left.  We will update you when we get more information,” Munyambu added, refusing to divulge any further details on the fate of the crew.

Another senior police officer told Capital FM News that a second helicopter was also “somewhere within the forest, towards the Meru side.”

“It is possible the helicopters are within that forest.  That is the preliminary report we have for now but we wait until we access the location,” he added, requesting not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The military headquarters in Nairobi later said one of the pilots of the three missing helicopters had communicated, asking for help.

“One of the pilots has communicated and he is calling for help from Mount Kenya forest.  We are trying our best to assist them,” Bogita Ongeri, the Military Spokesman said on telephone.

“The Kenya Defence Forces has dispatched a search and rescue team to the forest, but the weather has not cleared in that area,” he said.

He confirmed that there were four Mi-24 helicopters from Uganda that were headed to Somalia when they landed or crashed in the forest.

“One of them safely landed in one of our military base in North Eastern, but the other three are missing,” Ongeri said.

International media reported that the military helicopters were headed to Somalia and may have lost direction before they landed or crashed in the expansive forest.

Reports quoting the Ugandan military said the four helicopters carrying Ugandan soldiers were headed to Somalia to reinforce African Union peacekeeping forces battling Al Shabaab rebels.

They were said to have left a base in the Ugandan city of Entebbe.



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