, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – Families of those on board the aircraft that went missing on Tuesday evening are camping at the Weston Hotel, but are accusing airline and government officials of keeping them in the dark.
The families were called in for counseling but said there was no forthcoming information even as the search and rescue continued, mainly concentrated in the Kinangop area of the Aberdares.
Mohamed Abdi, a cousin to one of the passengers he identified as Abdi Ali said: “We hear that they are looking for the aircraft and we are waiting here at the Weston Hotel. The aircraft company is not giving us enough information on the matter. We are just requesting that they give us the full information so that we can collect the bodies of our loved ones and bury them,” he stated.
The plane belonging to FlySax and operated by East African Safari Air Express was destined for the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi from Kitale when it went missing. It was carrying eight passengers and two crew members.
“We only heard that there was heavy rainfall within the Naivasha and Limuru areas so we cannot even go there. We even went to the Wilson Airport where there was no information on the incident. Others who have helicopters went to look for their people but we are just waiting here,” he said.
Aviation officials say it went off the radar shortly after 5pm Tuesday and the public is being urged to volunteer any information they may have on sighting of the aircraft.
Bad weather was hampering the search and rescue operation and according to the National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU), a National Police Service helicopter was scouring the area around the Aberdares Forest or Ndakaini where the search is concentrated, but there was poor visibility.
“Weather is a challenge to the ongoing search & rescue operation, a National Police chopper is already up in the sky but weather condition is the problem. Following the missing aircraft, National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) appeals to Members of the public to volunteer information which may lead to quick rescue and recovery,” the organisation’s Deputy Director Pius Masai stated.
A statement from the airline indicated that they were in the process of contacting relatives of those who were on board, with counseling centres already set up.
The agencies involved in the search and rescue include the National Police Service, Kenya Wildlife, National Disaster Management Unit, Kenya Red Cross, Kenya Forest Service, Aviation Accidents Investigation among others.
Search and rescue teams from AAID, KCAA, KWS and other agencies were activated immediately but by Tuesday evening, they had yielded no results.