Two Uganda soldiers dead in Kenya’s chopper crash

Tuesday August 14 2012

Two Ugandan airforce soldiers have been confirmed dead in the helicopter crash in Mount Kenya as eight more of their colleagues were rescued and evacuated from the mountain on Tuesday afternoon.

However, the fate of their five colleagues in that chopper remains unknown, with fears that they may have perished in the fierce fire although their bodies are yet to be found.

All the survivors from the trio of crashes are now presumed to have been rescued, with only a recovery operation for the bodies of the dead remaining.

In addition to the eight soldiers rescued Tuesday, seven were rescued on Monday.

According to the KWS Senior Warden in charge of Mount Kenya, Mr Simon Gitau, a search and rescue team found two more wreckages barely a kilometre from that one found on Monday.

“We found two bodies, one of the pilot which was still strapped on the seat, and another a few metres away. The helicopter was burnt to ashes in the middle part,” said Mr Gitau.


The eight survivors were all from the third chopper which was found overturned at the base of a valley nearby.

The eight survivors had walked away from the wreckage down towards the rainforest.

“The search team that had assembled at the crash site with dogs to track them was called off after the Ugandan soldiers communicated with KDF using phones and said where they could be picked up,” added Mr Gitau.

They were picked up by two helicopters from Tropic air and taken directly to the airbase.

The distance between the three crafts was less than a kilometre, with Mr Gitau saying that flying around Mt Kenya is very treacherous, especially in bad weather.

Earlier in the morning, the Laikipia airbase commander Brigadier Francis Ogolla said that the four helicopters had taken off from Nanyuki on Sunday at 4.20pm but the three had gone down in bad weather barely 30 minutes later.

By mid afternoon, a team from the Kenya Airforce and Kenya Wildlife Service left Nanyuki airstrip for the mountain to recover the bodies from the wreckage.