Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

18 December 2012

Tanzania: Jet Crashes in Mpanda, Pilot Injured

PILOT of a small aircraft owned by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) , Mr Athman Bujwanga (47) cheated death after the jet suddenly descended down and broke into two pieces, shortly after it had taken off from the airport in Mpanda District, Katavi region.

Katavi Regional Police Commander, Mr Dhahiri Kadavashari said the accident occurred on Sunday at around 5:55 p.m, when the Cessna aircraft with registration numbers 5H F25 C182 fell at Kashaulili area, a distant of about six kilometre from Mpanda town.

According to the RPC the preliminary investigations reveal that the cause of accident was engine failure. The aircraft which was flying from Tabora had one passenger who disembarked at Mpanda airport, shortly before it took off to Katavi National Park to refuel.

The injured pilot was rushed to Mpanda District Hospital for treatment and was formally discharged. His condition is said to be improving. "Some early investigations have also shown that the engine stopped suddenly while it was above the ground and subsequently fell down," added the RPC.

Eye witness Credo Mwanisenga who witnessed the accident told the 'Daily News' at his farm area near the place where the accident occurred while he was lunching under a tree with his family. They saw the aircraft passing before it started swinging and then it fell down.

"I panicked and wanted to rush to the scene but my son, Mathew Bushaji cautioned me, saying that such accidents usually burst into flames," Mr Mwanisenga said. He then convinced his son and both went to the scene of accident and found the pilot being squeezed in aircraft's cabin without help.

Swarm of bees which found accommodation in mango tree which the aircraft fell beside it chased them away, explained Mwanisenga . "But we got courage and managed to retrieve the wounded pilot outside the ill fated aircraft and put him at the nearby shamba for resting but he was completely confused.

A crowd of curious residents from nearby areas and beyond rushed to the scene and some of them alerted the police. The police arrived at the scene and rushed the injured pilot to Mpanda District Hospital.

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