President Uhuru visits soldiers injured in Kajiado chopper crash

Kenya Air Force soldiers recuperating at the Kenya Defence Forces Memorial Hospital. A military aircraft they were in crashed at Eremet area in Oltinga, Kajiado West on June 24, 2021. [PSCU]

President Uhuru Kenyatta this evening visited and wished quick recovery to Kenya Air Force soldiers recuperating at the Kenya Defence Forces Memorial Hospital in Mbagathi, Nairobi County following the fatal helicopter accident in Magadi on Thursday.

The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has however remained tight-lipped on the number of casualties in the helicopter 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. Those that survived were airlifted to the Defence Memorial hospital in Nairobi.

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.

The aircraft went up in flames after crashing in Kajiado on June 24, 2021. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Speaking on phone to The Standard, today, 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.

Graphics: The Standard

The KDF had on Thursday 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,

At the site, KAF soldiers were today collecting pieces of the mangled chopper wreck and other remnants of Thursday’s crash, which include ammunition that fired up in the heat of the bursting flames.  

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