Military chopper crashes in Kajiado, goes up in flames

The helicopter, which had military officers on board, crashed on Thursday morning. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

A military aircraft has crashed at Eremet area in Oltinga, Kajiado West today morning.

Kajiado West Deputy County Commissioner Morang'a Morekwa told The Standard the crash occurred at 8 am.

The Standard has learnt that the aircraft had at least 20 occupants on board.

Eyewitnesses have given differing figures on the exact number of passengers who were onborad with some saying 21 people were on board and others claiming 23.

KDF spokesperson Zipporah Kioko said in a statement that the helicopter was on a training mission when it went down and burst into flames. “Rescue operations are underway,” she said.

The cause of the accident still remains unclear.

Kioko identified the model of the aircraft as the Mil Mi-17, which can carry 24 passengers and even small vehicles.

It has a 4,000kg internal payload capacity. Alternatively, it can carry underslung loads weighing up to 3,000kgs.

The Mi-17 can climb at a rate of 8m/s. The maximum speed and cruise speed of the helicopter are 250km/h and 225km/h respectively.

The range of the helicopter is 465km and the service ceiling is 6,000m. The aircraft weighs around 7,489kgs and its maximum take-off weight is 13,000kgs. 

The Kenya Defence Forces on Thursday afternoon confirmed deaths were recorded in the morning crash, though no specific casualty numbers were communicated by the Forces' spokesperson Zipporah Kioko.

"Regrettably, following the crash, we suffered fatalities. The process of communicating with the families to relay the information and KDF condolences are underway," she said.

A police report filed at the Kiserian Police Station, however, stated "10 of the 23 occupants were feared dead".

"Thirteen (13) were rescued and taken to hospital," said the report filed under the OB Number 9/24/6/2021.

This story is being updated.