An aviation drill by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) on Tuesday sent shivers among Kenyans over a possible crash.
It was reported that a plane from Rusinga island had gone missing.
A viral social media post indicated that the plane with six people on board was expected to land at Wilson Airport at around 9:30 am but couldn’t be located on KCAA radar.
It was further reported that the plane was last located in Narok.
11:47 A small plane with 6 on-board reportedly from Rusinga island that was to land at Wilson Airport at 9:30am has gone missing and cant be located on the radar. We pray for their safety via @adedeadedeh
— Ma3Route (@Ma3Route) December 3, 2019
In a statement, however, KCAA Director General Gilbert Kibe allayed the fears saying they were conducting a drill aimed at assessing the country’s aviation preparedness in case of an emergency or accident.
“The Aviation Search and Rescue Exercise dubbed OKOA MAISHA ASAREX 2019, was aimed at assessing the State’s level of preparedness in coordination, communication, command and control of the National Aeronautical Search and Rescue system in responding to an aviation incident or accident, ” the statement reads in part.
“The exercise will help us gauge the preparedness of the Government Agencies that are part of the National Aeronautical Search and Rescue system in responding to an aviation incident or accident, with the aim of improving efficiency in response time in any search and rescue mission.”
The multi-agency drill, according to KCAA, involved several state organs including KCAA as overall coordinator, National Police Service, Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Meteorological Department, National Disaster Operations Centre, Kenya Wildlife Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Airways.
The incident comes at a time the aviation industry is on the spot over safety concerns.
In late October, a plane operated by the local carrier, Silverstone Air, crash-landed in Eldoret after losing one of its wheels.
The aircraft, a Dash 8 300, with registration number 5Y-NOP was headed to Nairobi from Lodwar when one of its tyres fell off during take-off forcing the pilot to crash-land at Eldoret International Airport in Uasin Gishu County.
Following the incident, KCAA grounded the carrier’s planes for a week before the suspension was lifted.
“KCAA confirms that the Airline has provided satisfactory corrective measures as per the requirements of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2018, following comprehensive compliance audits on the operations and procedures of Silverstone Air Services conducted between 24th October and 15th November 2019,” KCAA said in a statement.
Here are some of the reactions online on the incident:
PLANE CRASH ALERT: A plane was to land at Wilson Airport around 9:30 today but it is missing and can't be located on the radar. Nobody knows where it is. It had 6 on board. Was last located in Narok @Ma3Route
— Time Bomb (@tiktok_kenya) December 3, 2019
Cool down. Nothing to worry about. What's happening at Wilson Airport is an aviation search and rescue drill. No plane has gone missing and there's no any emergency landing expected.
— Fredrick Mirikau™️ (@MirikauFredrick) December 3, 2019