Arusha — A PROMINENT businessman, Mr Peter- Joseph Macha who was popularly known here as 'Bob Sambeke,' died when a small aircraft he was piloting crashed in Kisongo area on Saturday Night.
The Acting Arusha Regional Police Commander, ACP Ibrahim Kilongo confirmed the incident, saying that the airplane was involved in the accident as it was preparing to land at the Arusha Airport at around 7.30 pm on Saturday night.
The yellow aircraft with 'Maule' written on its wings, caused rumours to do the rounds here, with people claiming that the plane, with serial numbers 5H-QTT, could have belonged to the late Advocate Nyaga Mawalla, who died in Nairobi recently.
The late Nyaga was known to own a fleet of aircrafts here. But it later turned out that the ill fated plane belonged to Bob Sambeke. "The aircraft was owned by Mr Macha alias 'Bob Sambeke', who was also the pilot," said Mr Kilongo.
Some eye witnesses who witnessed the whole scenario swore that the plane had initially 'landed on a tree,' before crashing. Mr Sangeta Lazaro, who lives nearby, said he witnessed the plane hitting a tree before crashing onto the ground and that the pilot was flying rather too low before the it crashed, advising that trees growing around the airport should be trimmed to avoid similar incidences in future.
A Prison Warden at Kisongo Penitentiary, Mr Halu Joseph, said the pilot died because people were afraid to venture near the plane to rescue him, thinking that the aircraft would explode any moment. "We could see the body of a man lying beneath the yellow plane but fearing that the aircraft may explode, most people here were hesitating to venture nearby, and even the airport rescue team took their time," he said.
It is still not known what exactly caused Bob Sambeke, an experienced pilot, to cause such accident, and both the airport officials, the Tanzania Aviation Authority and the local police are investigating the matter.