The plane that disappeared with 10 crew and passengers was serviced regularly and had flown to Homa Bay and Maasai Mara early Tuesday prior to the ill-fated journey to Nairobi in the evening.
The two pilots were reported to be experienced and it is feared the aircraft flew into bad weather over Aberdare forest around Kinangop in Nyandarua where its signals were last traced to at 5pm.
Captain Barbra Wangeci Kamau and her First Officer Jean Mureithi last communication with the control tower at JKIA was when the aircraft was about 60 kilometres from its destination. It was due to land at 5pm following the one-hour flight from Kitale. They later lost contact. It is believed they flew into a bad storm.
The eight passengers are Mr Ahmed Ali Abdi, Mr Karaba Sailah Waweru Muiga, Mr Khetia Kishani, Mr Matakasakarai Thamani, Mr Matakatekei Paula, Mr George Ngugi Kinyua, Mr Pinuertorn Ronald, and Mr Robinson Wafula.
The Fly540 CS208 plane, registration number 5Y-CAC, was flying from an airstrip in Kitale in Trans-Nzoia County to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport when it lost contact with the control tower at 5pm on Tuesday.
Frustrated relatives and friends of those missing joined the search for their loved ones within Aberdare forest in Njambini area, Nyandarua County.
Some of the relatives drove from Kitale to the site even as teams using a chopper for the mission cited bad weather as the reason for the delays.
The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority had on Tuesday night announced it stopped the search due to bad weather, which minimized chances of survival for those missing.
Mobile phone signals from the plane that went missing Tuesday evening were located in Kinangop area.
Rescue teams from police, Kenya Wildlife Service and responders concentrated on the area stretching to Aberdares forest after signals showed it could be there.
According to officials, the plane operated by East Africa Safari Air Express, a subsidiary of Fly540, left Kitale shortly after 4pm with eight passengers and two crew members and was to land at about 5 pm.
The two pilots were redirected to JKIA and were to approach the airport from Nairobi's Utawala direction. This, according to officials, forced the pilots to take the Kinangop route, which is considered dangerous because of the weather.
The airline said the plane was missing and that efforts by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Air Accident Investigation Division of Kenya to locate it were ongoing.
Others in the search mission included Kenya Red Cross, National Disaster Management Unit and Kenya Forest Service.
"At present, the East Africa Safari Air Express has no knowledge of the location or condition of the aircraft or its occupants," the airline said in the statement on Tuesday night.
It urged relatives and next of kin to convene at Weston Hotel for more information and those able to call crisis hotline number +254 706 303 305.
Some of the relatives visited the hotel.
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