Nairobi - The helicopter crash that last year killed Kenya's
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and five other people was most likely
caused by pilot error during bad weather conditions, a commission investigating
the accident said on Thursday.
There were no survivors in the June 10 accident that
occurred in Ngong, a town on the outskirts of Nairobi. The police helicopter
went down soon after take-off from Nairobi's Wilson Airport.
"The probable cause of the accident was a loss of
aircraft control in poor visibility," commission president Kalpana Rawal
told reporters, reading out a summary of the report.
The commission was set up shortly after the accident, with
President Mwai Kibaki vowing to make the findings public.
Commission member Peter Maranga said a "pilot error...
may have played a key role in this accident. It is possible the two pilots did
not have enough experience to fly in bad weather".
The panel also said it had found "serious deficiencies
in the areas of training, safety management and airworthiness" in the
Kenyan police's air squadron and said maintenance of the aircraft had been
carried out by an "unauthorised" mechanic.
The commission also said it had discovered a large
"error" on behalf of Eurocopter - the manufacturer of the crashed
aircraft - as a part of the aircraft's system had been replaced with a
"prototype" piece a few days before the helicopter was delivered to
the Kenyan police.
The commission did not say if the part played any role in
The aircraft, an AS350 B3e, was built in 2011 and delivered
later that year.
Eurocopter, a 100% subsidiary of European aeronautics
and defence group EADS, did not immediately comment on the findings.
In its inquiry, the commission recommended a complete
overhaul of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.
Aside from Saitoti, the minister's assistant, two bodyguards
and the two pilots died in the crash.