Prosecutors to open inquiry on crashed FlySax plane

Families of the plane crash victims at Lee Funeral Home. DPP plans to open an inquiry on crash. [File, Standard]
The office of the Director of Public Prosecution(DPP) will be furnished with a preliminary report of the plane crash once ready for the purposes of opening an inquiry.

Investigations at the site of the accident at the peak of the Aberdare Ranges in Kinangop, Nynadarua County came to a close on Monday night.

Security experts and specialists in plane crash had spent the whole day combing the area for any clues that will help to decipher what exactly made the Fly Sax 5Y-CAC plane come down.

Area Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Nyameti however insisted that investigations are still open: “We need to exactly find out what really went wrong.”

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Various exhibits were recovered including personal effects of passengers which will also be analysed for clues arguing that they do not want to leave anything to chance.

“We need to give them(investigators) time. Combining such a report may require time so we cannot say they have done everything by now,” he said.

It is not clear how soon the report will be ready, but according to a global database on plane crash incidents, initial reports should take days to few weeks. Bomb experts, Kenya Police, Kenya Forest Service, forensic specialist, government chemist and patholigist took part in the collection of evidence.

Though the plane is said not to have a black box, every aircraft needs to at least have a flight data recorder-which makes part of the black box- that should facilitate investigations in case of an accident.

“While the initial field phase of an accident investigation can be concluded within weeks or even days, the investigators' final report and recommendations often take years to complete. The final report consists of factual information about the accident, an analysis, conclusions (probable cause) and also includes safety recommendations,” reads the Aviation Safety Network(ASN).

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The sole purpose of the investigations as per the set international guidelines, ASN explains, is not to finally point fingers on who is to blame.

“The sole objective of the investigation of an accident or incident is the prevention of (similar)accidents and incidents. It is not the purpose to apportion blame or liability,” reads the explanation on its site.

The Cessna 208 model plane crashed at 5pm on Tuesday last week after encountering bad weather with a myriad of claims that the pilot may have not been aware of the area’s terrain and that she was misled by the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport(JKIA) tower.

Speculation has however been raised on the effectiveness of the plane warning signals like the weather radar which should have alerted the pilot of the fog while an updated Global Positioning System(GPS) would have alerted her of the peak of the rocky Elephant Hill she was approaching.

Planes' GPS are supposed to be updated every 28 days as there are up to 85,000 changes in the navigation system on average.

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Consequently, all the eight passengers and two crew perished in the accident.

This is not the first time a plane crashed at the Aberdares, whose temperatures are as low as eight degrees reducing any chances of life.

In November 29 1944, a British Overseas Airways Corporation(Boac) now known as British Airways crashed in the area killing all the 11 occupants who included four crew and seven passengers.

Just like the Fly Sax plane, this one also hit the peak of the hill as it tried to descend heading to Nairobi.  The wreckage of the plane was found the following year January 1, 1945.

In the latest crash, the wreckage was found two days later.

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dppflysax planecessna c208 flysax