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On the trail of missing plane

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A FySax-managed Cesna C208 aircraft, registration number 5Y-CAC bound for Nairobi from Kitale went missing on Tuesday. With over 17 hours since the light aircraft was reported missing, here is the known timeline of the disappearance and search operation as compiled by the Standard.

Tuesday 4:05PM: The plane left Kitale airstrip with eight passengers and two female crew members on board. It was expected in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport about an hour later.

Tuesday 5:20PM: The flight operator FlySax, a subsidiary of Fly540 says in a statement the plane was last seen on the radar at 5:20PM, the time it was expected to land at JKIA. Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCCA) Director General Gilbert Kibe, however, released a statement saying the flight was last spotted at 2:02PM.

He adds that it was 40 nautical miles from Nairobi and was flying at 11,000ft above the sea level. The time given by KCCA is before the flight left Kitale at 4:05.

Tuesday 6:00PM: Information emerge that the plane had earlier flown to Homa Bay, Maasai Mara and was its last trip from Kitale to Nairobi when it went missing. More information emerge that the two pilots were redirected to JKIA and were to land through Utawala direction. This, according to the officials, forced the pilots to take the Kinangop route, which is considered dangerous because of poor weather.

Tuesday evening: Emergency service providers at Wilson Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Aiport are mobilised to help track the missing caravan. The planes airline says it is not aware of its location. “At present, the East Africa Safari Air Express has no knowledge of the location or condition of the aircraft or its occupants,” it said in a statement

Tuesday 9:00PM: The multi-agency search team from Air Accident Investigation Division (AAID), KCCA, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and others pause the search for the night with no recovery. KCCA says bad weather conditions are making the search and rescue efforts difficult.

Wednesday 4AM: Kenya Wildlife Services Assistant Director in charge of Mountain Areas Simon Gitau says the search operations has resumed. He adds that areal search is still difficult owing to the bad weather. Phone signals from the plane are located in the Aberdares in Nyandarua County. Police and KWS officers narrow search for the missing CS208 plane to Kinangop, Nyandarua County.

Wednesday 7AM: More search and rescue teams are waiting to be airlifted from Njambini playground to the search zone. A team from Red Cross also joins to help with efforts. The Rescue team at Njabini Boys High School.


Wednesday 8AM: Little activity is ongoing at Weston Hotel, Nairobi, where relatives and next of kin are convening. Those with more information are told to call crisis hotline number +254 706 303 305.

Wednesday 10:30: The Red Cross team heading to Kinangop to join search for missing plane is involved in a road accident; victims rushed to a hospital in Ol Kalou.

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