, NAKURU, Kenya Oct 22 – The five victims of the Lake Nakuru chopper crash have been identified even as the search for their bodies continued following the Saturday accident.
Authorities and family members who spoke to Capital FM News gave names of said the deceased persons as Sam Gitau, John Mapozi and Antony Kipyegon—who all worked for Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika as bloggers or media team.
Authorities said they had informed all their family members or their representatives–some of who were at the site for counseling as the search for the bodies continued.
Sam Gitau’s father William Ngugi said he last tried to call his first born son on Friday evening but he did not pick.
“I was hopeful of talking to him on Saturday only to receive the sad news from the aunt,” said Ngugi.
The fourth is the pilot of the ill-fated chopper known as Apollo Malowa and a lady whose name was given as Veronica Muthoni.
They all perished when the plane dived into the Hippos-infested Lake Nakuru on Sunday morning shortly after takeoff from Jarika hotel in Nakuru town where it had been parked since Wednesday, according to area police Chief Joshua Omukata.
It is understood that the bloggers were headed to a Jubilee political rally, but the pilot was headed to Naishi Airstrip inside the national park before proceeding with the journey.
A statement from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) soon after the incident said “initial indications are that there are no survivors.”
“There were five people on board—a male pilot, including three male passengers and a female passenger,” KCAA’s Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe said in a statement.
National Disaster Operation Centre Desk Officer Jonathan Kerich on Sunday said the recovery team had identified six spots with oil spill spots on the lake.
He said the recovery team was using the spills as beacons to mark the search areas of the helicopter whose debris washed up Sunday.
“The search team has recovered some debris which is an indicator that the helicopter may have disintegrated on impact,” he told journalists at the site that was jammed by friends and family members of the deceased.
Keritich hinted that they might have to suspend the for the second day before recovery of the bodies and the main wreckage because the retrieval cannot go on after 6pm.
Kenya Red Cross Society Central Rift Manager, Michael Ayabei said his team together with their counterparts from the Kenya Counseling and Psychological Association had debriefed families of the victims.