A small plane crashed in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley region on Wednesday, killing five people including three Americans.
According to Edward Mwamburi, police chief for the Rift Valley region, “There were five occupants in the plane and they did not survive”. He said the Cessna plane was heading from the Maasai Mara to Lodwar, near Lake Turkana and emergency services have been sent to the scene.
Witnesses saw the plane clip a tree as it attempted an emergency landing and crashed in a field in Kericho county west of the capital Nairobi. The Kenyan pilot and another passenger, of unknown nationality, also died, the police source said.
“The plane clipped the tree and the rear wheels came off,” said farm worker Joseph Ng’ethe. “It then careened and crashed into another tree in front and into the ground.”
The American fatalities were a man and two women, the source said.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2014, some 130,000 planes land and take off from Kenya each year, and the country has 35 operating airlines. The IATA said Kenya’s air transport infrastructure quality ranks 6th out of 37 countries surveyed in Africa.
In October 2017 five passengers were killed when a helicopter crashed into Lake Nakuru, while in 2012 a helicopter carrying internal security minister George Saitoti crashed, killing all six passengers on board. Kenya’s worst crash in recent years took place in 2007, when a Kenya Airways flight from Abidjan to Nairobi via Douala crashed into a swamp after take-off, killing all 114 passengers.