Saitoti “May Have Jumped” from Crashing Chopper
Details of Saitoti and Ojode crash: What happened the last 5 minutes?
Tuesday, 12th June, 2012 – Yesterday at a special cabinet meeting at the KICC transport minister Amos Kimunya dismissed the first four causes of any plane crash (incompetency and inexperience of the pilots, human error, bad weather and the state of the air craft.)
Reports according to the government say that the weather was clear and visibility was good (actually over 8 kms), they also say that the Euro copter aircraft number 5YCDT A5350 which had only 100 hours flying time since its registration in January was in good working condition.
On the question of experience of the two pilots, Kimunya said that Nancy Gituanja had over 1166 hours and 29 minutes of flying time which according to pilots is good. Oyugi’s report is however not yet available though speculations has it they may be having the same number of flying time as they enrolled together at Police air wing around the year 2000.
Investigators from Kenya and France who are investigating the chopper crash will have many questions to answer. Some of the things they need to keenly check on are the weather conditions as many other pilots on air had complained of lack of visibility.
Some more questions they need to answer are, was it human error, sabotage, or did a critical part of the chopper fail? Who serviced the chopper and who had access to where the chopper was parked?
Reports now in say that flight engineers at the Wilson Airport serviced the chopper.
Nancy Gituanja is said to have experience with the Euro craft as she is the one who checked the chopper after it was serviced on Friday. Reports say that she flew the chopper to Voi on a test drive and confirmed it was ok.
She later parked it at the Wilson Airport Kenya Police Air wing hanger. It is said that she later went to Dumbsters restaurant with Oyugi when one of the engineers came to the restaurant and informed her that the chopper was having a problem with the lighting though it was just a minor problem.
Reports say that Gituanja was not designated to fly the chopper on Sunday as she was to attend a family gathering at Kandara. The chopper was to be flown by Capt. Kuto and Oyugi.
What really happened between 8.37 and 8.42 a.m.
The chopper left Wilson Airport at exactly 8. 32 a.m. and at 8.37 the pilot communicated to control with a request to take a new frequency 118.5. Immediately a critical tracking device stopped working due to internet failure. It is also said that the pilot did not report any distress call evidence enough that there was communication breakdown.
More facts and speculations about the accident arose on the site of the incident as George Saitoti’s body was found meters away from the crash, it was evident that he may have broken his leg out of a jump thus could not run. A known coat that Saitoti often wears in events was found besides him evidence that he may have tried to fight the fire before it engraved him.
Also next to him meters from the crash was Ojode’s body. The pilot and co pilot were found attached to their seat belts.
It was also easy to identify Tonkei’s body as a pistol was attached to his belt and Murimi’s uniform made it easier for the investigators to identify him. After the crash their bodies lay just close to the fallen craft.
From the itinerary, Murimi was not supposed to be on that flight as it was planned that Samuel Topoika, Saitoti’s guard was to fly with them. Topoika was however removed from the chopper due to his weight and replaced with Murimi who is of average weight.
French investigators said that although the chopper does not have a black box which monitors those last minutes of a flight including it engine activities, there is a system which can help in putting together the events of the last minutes of the chopper.
Speaking at KICC yesterday Kimunya said, “it had full passenger capacity allowable on board. Flight was normal for five minutes …till when it was leaving Wilson Airport and was being handed over to another frequency 118.5 and they confirmed it had picked up the new frequency,”
“The last video tracking confirmed that as the last communication recorded and that is when it lost communication with control tower.” Kimunya added.
More updates to follow as investigations continue………………..
Naomi Thothoi, the Kenyan DAILY POST