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Vintage biplane crashes in Kenya, Irish pilots unhurt

People look at a vintage Boeing Stearman Model 75 biplane as it sits on the runway at Khartoum airport in Khartoum, Sudan during the Vintage Air Rally (VAR) on November 20, 2016 © AFP/File / Ashraf Shazly

Nairobi, Kenya, Nov 27 – An Irish father and daughter team taking part in a cross-Africa rally escaped unhurt after crashlanding their 1930s biplane on the way to Kenya’s capital, where participants staged an airshow Sunday, organisers said.

“Team Eagle in a Boeing Stearman have suffered total engine failure and made a forced landing. We are happy to say and terribly relieved that both crew are uninjured, but the aircraft is irreparably damaged,” the Vintage Air Rally said on its Facebook page of the incident which took place on Saturday.

About a dozen planes from the 1920s and 1930s are taking part in the 13,000-kilometre (8,000-mile) journey from the Greek island of Crete to Cape Town — an extraordinary bid in aircraft with no autopilot, automation or protection from the elements.

The teams became the first group of aircraft to land at Egypt’s Giza pyramids in 80 years and were detained for two days in rough conditions in Ethiopia after a mix-up with their flight permits.

The Vintage Air Rally (VAR) has already taken pilots to Egypt’s Gaza pyramids, where they became the first aircraft to land in 80 years © AFP/File / Khaled Desouki

However they finally made it to Kenya where they flew their vintage planes on Sunday above Nairobi’s famed National Park, where lions, zebra and giraffe roam in the shadow of the city.

The adventure-filled rally has also seen maverick 72-year-old British pilot Maurice Kirk go missing twice. After being released from Ethiopia he landed up in conflict-torn South Sudan instead of Kenya.

“Locals found him and called a Brit in Juba they recently worked for. He contacted the British embassy in Juba,” organisers said on their Facebook page Saturday.


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