Trainee pilot forced to keep Kenyan plane airborne after wheel falls off

Tuesday November 19 2019

A light aircraft flies over trees near Malindi International Airport in this picture taken in 2012. A small plane crash-landed at the Malindi International Airport on November 18, 2019 after losing one of its wheel. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Charles Lwanga

A light aircraft was forced to fly for two-hours to exhaust its fuel before crash landing at the Malindi International Airport at Kenya's coast on Monday.

Malindi airport manager Mohammed Karama said the Cessna 152 aircraft, belonging to the Kenya School of Flying, lost one of its wheels mid-air and had to fly for two hours to avoid explosion when landing.

“The control tower noticed that its fore wheel was missing while mid-air and the pilot was advised to fly for two hours due to security reasons,” he said.

Mr Karama said that the aircraft had only one occupant, a male pilot who is undertaking aviation studies.

“He crash-landed but he did not suffer injuries, although he was taken to the hospital together with his tutor who was directing him while mid-air for psychological counselling due to trauma,” he said.



Mr Karama said a security team, fire brigadiers and medical personnel’s from Tawfique hospital had already arrived at the airport when the aircraft was crash landing to avert any calamity.

However, he said the aircraft and the runway was damaged.

“The cause of the accident will be established by aviation investigators,” he said, adding that the incident happened when the airspace was not busy and it therefore did not disrupt the normal operation.

Incidents of the aircraft used by the Kenya School of Flying crash landing in the area are not new to locals, who have called on the management to service the planes to avoid disaster.

In November last year, a pilot was injured after a light aircraft failed to climb high enough during take-off and crashed into an electric post near a house in Furunzi, Malindi.

In September 2016, a flight instructor and her student from Kenya School of Flying survived a crash at Malanga Primary school after their training aircraft developed mechanical problems.