Uhuru visits injured KDF soldiers as DoD remains tightlipped on details
NATIONAL | By Brian Otieno | June 26th 2021
President Uhuru Kenyatta has visited the Kenya Defence Forces soldiers who sustained injuried after their chopper crashlanded in Kajiado.
Uhuru visited the soldiers at the Defence Forces Memorial Hospital (DFMH) ICU where they are admitted.
While expressing his gratitude for their dedication and selfless sacrifice in service to the nation, Uhuru encouraged them and wished them a quick recovery.
The Mi 17 1E helicopter crash-landed while on a training mission at Ol Tepesi, Ngong, in Kajiado County.
Present during the visit were the Vice Chief of the Defence Forces Lieutenant General Levi Mghalu, Commander Kenya Army Lieutenant General Walter Koipaton, Commander Kenya Air Force Major General Francis Ogolla, Director of Medical Services Major General (Dr) George Nga’nga, Senior Medical Officer (DFMH) Brigadier (Dr) Charles Kingori, Chief of Compensation and Welfare Brigadier Jeremiah Maroko among others.
The visit on Friday evening came even as the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) remained tight-lipped on the details of the crash that reportedly claimed the lives of 10 Kenya Air Force (KAF) soldiers and injured 13 others.
That was more than 24 hours since they issued a statement reporting that KDF officers had lost their lives in the crash.
KAF Commander Francis Ogolla, who was at the scene of the crash on Thursday, did not give details, only acknowledging that 'some KDF officers had died. The two statements are the only official communication the KDF has issued publicly on the matter.
Information on the 10 deaths and 13 survivors was revealed by Kajiado West Deputy County Commissioner, Morang’a Morekwa, at the scene of the crash.
Said Morekwa; "We have gathered information from locals who say 13 people were rescued from the scene. Ten are feared dead," he said.
Speaking on phone to The Standard on Thursday, KDF spokesperson Col Zipporah Kioko said they would give an update on the incident at a later date.
A statement issued by Kioko earlier on Thursday acknowledged that there had been a crash and all passengers had been accounted for.
“All the passengers onboard the KAF Helicopter Mi 171E, which crashed upon landing, at Ol Tepesi in Kajiado County today 24th June at 00900am, are accounted for and have been moved to safety,” read the statement in part.
The KDF cordoned off the dusty scene of the chopper crash, with officers keeping away journalists and locals who arrived first at the scene hoping to rescue anyone who needed help.
“Some of the survivors who got out unscathed kept us away. But it was understandable because the scene was not safe for us. Perhaps they were just looking out for us,” recounted Jeremiah Shaparah, a resident of Elmeret, Kajiado County,
By Thursday, experts were still collecting pieces of the mangled chopper wreck and other remnants of the crash, which include ammunition that fired up in the heat of the bursting flames.
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