NAIROBI, 12 January 2021 – An unknown number of Kenya Defense Forces (KSF) have died after an aircraft crashed Tuesday at Irima Hill situated in the Tsavo East National Park near Voi town in Taita-Taveta County.
The KSF Twitter handle confirmed the crash, explaining that recovery efforts were underway.
The cause of the crash is unknown and defense officials in Nairobi have not said how many military officers were on board the aircraft.
Officers of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and local police, who were among the first emergency response team to arrive the crash site, said they found six bodies strewed in the park.
A search was underway Tuesday for any additional bodies in the park area in the immediate vicinity of the crash site.
“As I am talking to you, police, KWS personnel among other state agencies are at the hill trying to retrieve bodies of KDF soldiers who have been deformed. We have been barred from taking pictures,” a police officer told Standard Digital from the scene of the crash.
“The matter is under investigation, but bad weather could have caused the accident,” a defense officer told Standard Digital via phone from the scene.
“We are not releasing any information at the moment,” police, KWS and defense officials told reporters Tuesday.
Smoke was still billowing at the scene of the accident late Tuesday, according to eyewitness accounts.
KSF said the plane – model Harbin Y-12 – was coming in from Moi Air Base in the capital, Nairobi, when it crashed.
Standard Digital said the plane was coming in to pick up Levi Mghalu, the Vice Chief of Defense Forces at Kenya Defense Forces, from his rural home.
News reports Tuesday said the government of Kenya has mobilized resources to get to the scene and unravel the circumstances under which the crash occurred.
A recent report said another aircraft had arrived Taita-Taveta County and later took off.