Hang off helicopters at your own risk, Aviation Authority warns

Residents of Magombo, Nyamira marvel at a landing helicopter. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

As political campaigns heighten nationwide, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) is now warning Kenyans against milling around helicopters or hanging on the landing gears, saying it’s no sign of heroism.

While reacting to yesterday’s incident in Kiegoi village, Igembe South in Meru County where a middle-aged man clung to a helicopter as it took off, KCAA Director General Emile Arao termed the move as dangerous, saying they will deal with the culprits.  

 “The Authority categorically emphasizes that hanging onto choppers poses unnecessary danger to persons and property. Members of the public seen to approach the aircraft landing and take-off sites will be held culpable,” Arao noted.

KCAA termed the Kiegoi incident unfortunate, confirming that the culprit was arrested and is in police custody.

“The culprit in this incident is in police custody and the Authority is coordinating with law enforcement agencies to ensure due course of the law as espoused in the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations,” KCAA said.

The incident occurred on Wednesday evening during Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya’s tour of Meru, where he announced a national waiver of charges for the export of miraa.

KCAA has also stressed that helicopter operators be reminded that it is their obligation to ensure the safety and security of their aircraft and to make local arrangements to secure their machines through local administration and the National Police Service.

“The guideline is to land and take-off at least 3km from the activity venue and to ensure at least 30 meters’ radius free of people.”