A Kenyan pilot and his assistant were seriously injured on Saturday after a cargo plane they were controlling crashed at Mogadishu’s main airport in Somalia during takeoff.
Following the accident, the Aden Adde International Airport was shut down briefly as emergency personnel attended to the crew who were aboard the Silverstone plane.
Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo told the Nation that the cargo plane had four crew members onboard at the time of the crash.
“There were four occupants including the pilot, co-pilot, an engineer and a load master. The pilot and co-pilot were seriously injured and the airline has arranged for their evacuation to Nairobi for further treatment and management,” Maj-Gen (Rtd) Tumbo said.
The engineer and the loader got minor injuries.
All the occupants were rescued and taken to the nearby African Union Mission (Amisom) Level 2 Hospital in Mogadishu.
The aircraft, a Dash-8, was on its way to deliver supplies to the African Union Mission (Amisom) forces in Beledwyene, some 335 km north of Mogadishu in Central Somalia.
It failed to lift while taking off and hit a perimeter wall of the airport, officials said.
Witnesses said the aircraft had circled around the airport at low altitude before attempting an emergency landing.
Photos shared on social media showed the plane had rammed a wall on the edge of the airport.
The aircraft registered in Kenya as 5Y-MHT routinely operates cargo flights to and within Somalia, delivering supplies to both UN and Amisom centres. Ahmed Moalim Hassan, the Director-General of the Somalia Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the accident saying there had been two injuries.
Later, Kenya’s Ambassador to Somalia Lucas Tumbo said all the five crew member had been rescued and were safe.
It is the third accident involving a Kenyan aircraft this year in Somalia. In July, a Kenyan pilot and his crew survived another crash after a plane they were controlling encountered a mishap as it landed at Beledweyne airport.
The plane operated by Blue Bird Aviation, had been contracted by the UN to deliver foodstuff and other humanitarian supplies to Beledwyene.
Officials said that the plane, a Fokker, had flown with the goods from Djibouti City. But as it approached it landed on the marram runway of the local airstrip in Somalia, around 1.30pm, it encountered mechanical problems.
In May, a Kenyan aircraft was shot down as it approached an airstrip in Bardale manned by the Ethiopian troops who were not part of Amisom. All the six on board were killed. But the incident created controversy after it emerged the Ethiopian troops that ‘mistakenly’ shot it down were not part of the Amisom troops.