A chopper, registration 5Y-NMJ, that was heading to a Jubilee rally has crashed into Lake Nakuru. Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika has confirmed that 3 of those on board were part of her media team.
A total of 5 people were on board the ill-fated chopper; four men and a lady. Sources privy to the fatal accident say those on board were Anthony Kipyegon, Apollo Malowa (pilot), Veronica, Sam Gitau and Mapozi John.
Eye witnesses say the accident happened early in the morning and that the chopper was flying low from the moment it took off from Jarika Hotel until it crashed into the lake.
There was heavy security presence at the scene as security personnel sealed off the area to facilitate rescue efforts. Nakuru OCPD Joshua Omukata said rescue efforts were delayed by unavailability of a boat.
The boat did arrive in the afternoon but it was not one that encouraged confidence in the nation’s disaster preparedness. This is also in consideration of the fact that it took about 6 hours for a search and rescue mission to be put together.
Park attendants at Lake Nakuru said that they could not initiate a rescue mission in time because the park does not have boats.
They had to wait for a police helicopter and Kenya Navy divers to arrive from Mombasa.
Eyewitness from Club Platinum 7, where the four were spotted, said the four men were in the club in the wee hours of Saturday morning. They appeared drunk and the pilot had to be helped to get on his feet.
There was rife speculation over the pilot’s competence after a social media user pointed out that he once landed a chopper on a busy street.
It is not yet clear if the lady, only identified as Veronica, was part of the campaign team.
The search and rescue mission was called off late Saturday evening with no bodies recovered yet. It will be resumed on Sunday.
Unconfirmed reports also point out that the chopper belongs to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Monday 23rd Morning: Divers recovered parts of the helicopter from the lake on Sunday. Bodies of the deceased are yet to be recovered, the third day since the crash happened.
Monday 23rd evening: Three bodies have been retrieved from the lake. Two of them have been identified to be those of Apollo Malowa and Anthony Kipyego. The third body was badly mutilated to be identified on the scene.