Kenya: Police Chopper That Crashed in Meru Was Trying to Avoid Power Cables in Emergency Landing

Nairobi — An investigation report on the police helicopter crash in Meru that occurred last month has revealed that it was trying to avoid power cables during an emergency landing.

The report was compiled by the Air Accidents Investigations department that is domiciled at the Ministry of Transport.

"The weather conditions appeared to deteriorate and the crew elected to make a landing at an area they had sited. As they approached the landing area in hazy conditions, at low 3 speed, he noticed electric cables in front," said Martin Lunami, the Chief Investigator of Accidents.

Four senior police officers were injured in the accident.

Authorities said the officers were headed to Marsabit for a security meeting.

According to Lunami, the helicopter lifted off from Wilson Airport, and made a stop-over in Embu before it proceeded with the journey.

But the weather was bad and the pilot had to make an emergency landing before proceeding. The first emergency landing was successful.

While making a second emergency landing, the pilot noticed electric cables and crashed while trying to avoid them.

It was then that the helicopter hit two trees before it impacted the ground and came to rest on its right side with the main rotor blades hitting the terrain.

"All the passengers evacuated the helicopter from left emergency window. There were reported injuries of varying degrees to the passengers. The crew escaped with minor injuries. The helicopter was substantially damaged during the accident," he said.

The chopper, Agusta Westland AW119 passenger helicopter, registration 5YNPW, was carrying two pilots and four passengers who were later evacuated from the wreckage with injuries of varying degrees.

There have been concerns on the increased air accidents, mainly involving choppers owned or operated by security agencies.

On Monday, two military pilots died when their helicopter crashed at Kithyoko, Masinga area within Machakos County.

It was a US-made light attack helicopter gunship MD 530F.

The cause of the crash was not immediately established.

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