Several KDF soldiers feared dead in Tsavo military plane crash

Several Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) personnel are feared dead after an aircraft on Tuesday crashed in the vast Tsavo National Park in Taita-Taveta County in Taita-Taveta County

Senior police officers and Kenya wildlife Service (KWS) personnel at the scene said the aircraft crashed at Irima hill in Tsavo East National Park near Voi town.

It was not immediately established how many military officers were in the aircraft and what could have led to the crash.

However, KWS officials at the scene indicated the aircraft could have crashed due to poor weather or mechanical problems.

Intelligence sources told Standard Digital that the aircraft was coming from Nairobi to Voi to pick Levi Mghalu, the Vice Chief of Defence Forces at Kenya Defense Forces at his rural home.

Those at the scene told Standard Digital that they saw six bodies while others could have been strewed in the park due to the impact involved.

“As I am talking to you know, police, KWS personnel among other state agencies are at the hill trying to retrieve bodies of KDF soldiers who have been deformed. We have been barred from taking pictures,” said a police officer at the scene.

The Kenya Defence Forces through their Twitter handle confirmed the crash, adding that recovery efforts were underway.

 "Today 12 Jan 21, mid-morning, a Kenya Air Force aircraft, model Harbin Y-12, crashed in Voi, Taita Taveta County. The aircraft was from Moi Air Base, Eastleigh, Nairobi. Recovery efforts are underway,"

KWS Tsavo Conservation Area Assistant (TCA) Kenneth Ochieng, new County Police Commander Patrick Okeri and Voi Sub County Police Commander Benastine Shari said "we not releasing any information at the moment".

Information from DOD

Speaking at the scene, the security personnel said police and KDF were still documenting the scene.

“We are not disclosing any information as investigators from KDF are already at the scene. We are also waiting for information from Department of Defence (DOD about the crash,” Okeri said.

“The area where the accident occurred is a big hill and the majority of us have not reached there. Police and KDF are still documenting the scene of the accident and DOD is in a better position to release information about the crash and not the police.”

Ochieng said the crash could have been caused by bad weather. “The weather is not good in the area and we are still waiting for the KDF experts to investigate the accident,” said the KWS boss.

“There is a lot of protocol at the military and we cannot give out any information concerning the accident. The matter is still under investigations. But bad weather could have caused the accident,” he told The Standard at the scene.

Ochieng said the aircraft and military personnel were on normal routine work at the time of the accident.

Those at the scene said smoke is still billowing at the scene of the accident as efforts are being made to save the lives of the victims.

“We are yet to know the number of KDF personnel who were at the aircraft,” said a source at the scene.

The government has mobilised resources to the ground to help unravel the circumstances under which the crash occurred as information at the scene remains scanty, added another source.

Another aircraft arrived at the scene and later took off, said another source.