A preliminary examination report by Eurocopter which is expected to be adduced as evidence before the commission probing the June 10 crash points at pilot error as the possible cause of the accident.
A report by BEA Team of investigators from EUROCOPTER and TURBOMECA indicates there was no engine failure when the chopper came down killing Internal Security minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojodeh two pilots and two bodyguards.
The report which has been seen by the Star rules out any possibilities of the helicopter malfunctioning during flight. The report says the pilot had an opportunity to crash land the copter at an open field near the crash site. "An area for emergency landing was available just before the site crash," said the report adding that no emergency message was reported between pilots and ATC.
The report, which was compiled five days after the crash, indicates poor weather conditions contributed to the crash but noted that the decision of the pilot to take an alternative route due to poor visibility resulted in the fatal accident. The report says the accident occurred in a hilly area against a climbing light slope at an altitude of 6,600ft recommended for the chopper.
The report may likely be brought to the commission as part of the proceedings. "Two emails send between 08h03 and 08h12 local time the day of accident show by a pilot located at less than five kilometers of the East of the site crash to the other pilot that the visibility was low to the West."
According to the report, the other pilot suggested to use an alternative route. The recorded SkyTrack path shows an erratic path by the helicopter at the end of the flight. A 270°left turn following by 270°right turn carried out before the crash. The team of investigators from France said from evidences (testimonies, flight path from SkyTrack system, Uturn), meteorological deteriorated conditions for the helicopter at the time and on the area of the accident.
"Evidences on the vegetation and the ground show the helicopter heading was 75°(scheduled heading for the flight was 280°) with an approximate helicopter pitch down attitude of 40°at the impact," it says in part. The report also says evidence on the crash path and condition of the wreckage show significant impact forces, both at vertical and horizontal speeds.
"The engine was running and delivered power at the moment of impact. The front part of the landing gear was sunk deeply into the ground when the ground impact occurred," it adds. It goes on to detail that the examinations of the power transmission drive shaft from the engine to the Main Gear Box revealed presence of power.
"The examinations of the available power transmission drive train from the engine to the Tail Rotor did not reveal any pre-crash failure," said the investigators. The investigators also said the pilot took firm control of the plane despite the crash noting that "the evidence of Tail Rotor poor bending does not show any loss of yaw control by the pilot". The report points out that the main rotor and tail rotor blades showed evidence of damages consistent with energy impact against the vegetation and the ground.