Close to 50 passengers on board a Fly540 plane escaped death by a whisker on December 29, 2018 after one wheel of the plane they were boarding came off during touch down at Eldoret International Airport.
The operators of the Dash-8 300 plane and the airport authorities have kept mum about the accident, despite having received several complains on the Fly540 planes, which are prone to accidents.
It is reported that the pilots in charge of the plane did not notify the control tower operators of any anormally, hence risking a lethal crush in the airport involving other planes.
The accident inconvenienced passengers scheduled to land in the airport, with some of the flights being diverted to Kisumu while others were delayed.
It is suspected that Fly540 planes are operated by semi-trained pilots who can offer cheap services, hence risking the lives of passengers. An eyewitness says that the aircraft approached the runway in an awkward angle before smashing on to the runway before the wheel came off.
Following the bang, screeching and smoke, some passengers sustained minor injuries trying to jump off the plane after if stopped mid the runway.
The company has been facing a backlash from customers after being involved in several accidents unlike other flight companies.
Last year, a FlySax plane (operated by Fly540) crashed at the Aberdare forest. Later reports emerged that the accident was caused by poor communication and professional negligence.
It is reported that during the maintenance of the plane, Don Smith, the Fly540 CEO fired the engineers who were doing it and issued warning letters to others, hence distracting them from work. It is reported that the plane was not fully serviced.
Before that, in 2011, another Fly540 plane crash landed in a cassava plantation near Wilson Airport in what was reported to be a failed take off. It is reported that after this accident, journalists who arrived at the scene were paid not to paint the image of the company in a bad way. They were also ordered to leave the scene, hence little is known about the accident.
In August 2008, a Fokker F27 freighter aircraft belonging to Fly540 crashed in Somalia’s Mogadishu killing the three crew members on board.
This accident was kept out of the limelight , with money exchanging hands.
In a similar accident, the main wheel of a Fly540 plane CRJ100 got off while taxing at the jomo Kenyatta International Airport last year. The crew were notified of the same but ignored.
Another one, 5Y-BXD, of the same company was operating using a faulty engine despite several warnings from flight engineers to the management who chose to ignore. Later, the plane was forced to turn back on its way to Juba, with one failed engine.
Kahawa Tungu learns that some of the accidents are caused by human factors like fatigue and frustrations. Most of Fly540 employees report to work as early as 4am without proper transport arrangements and working hours. Sometimes shifts are extended by more than three hours for the fatigued workers, who may make errors during their line of duty.
It is also true that some shifts end as late as 1am, and with lack of proper transport plans they opt to spend the rest of their nights at the place of work only to report next day extremely fatigued, unable to execute their duties properly.
Kahawa Tungu also learns that the management of the Fly540 management has been compromising officers of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) in a bid to remain operational despite flouting several rules.
Here are the photos of the recent incidence:-
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