Aviation agency investigates Silverstone after two mishaps

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 12:00 |
The Silverstone aircraft that made an emergency landing at Eldoret International Airport. PD/JIMMY GITAKA
The Silverstone aircraft that made an emergency landing at Eldoret International Airport. PD/JIMMY GITAKA

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has launched investigations into Silverstone Air Services Limited following a series of incidents that have posed safety risks to clients.

The announcement came moments after a Silverstone plane was forced to re-route to Moi International Airport in Eldoret from Lodwar airstrip after it developed landing gear hitches.

KCAA director general Cpt Gilbert Kibe last evening said the agency was carrying out an inspection on the airline following a series of mishaps.

He said safety and security within the Kenyan airspace remains a paramount priority for the authority.

“As per the provision of Civil Aviation Act No 21 of 2013, amended in 2016, KCAA is mandated to manage, regulate and operate a safe, secure and efficient civil aviation system in Kenya,” Kibe said in a statement.

“The audit is being performed to determine the level of compliance with the current Civil Aviation regulations and their own company approved manuals and procedures,” he added.

Silverstone’s Dash 8-300 registration number 5YBWG, with four passengers and five crew members on board, was bound for Lodwar town during the morning incident. The rear right wheel came off the plane like a stone and dropped outside the airstrip located some 500 kilometres from Nairobi.

Uasin Gishu county police commander Johnstone Ipara confirmed all the passengers on board were safely evacuated from the plane after it landed at the Eldoret airport.

Establish cause

“There is no cause for alarm as all the passengers on board disembarked safely,” he told the press at the facility.

He said the plane developed some mechanical problems as it was about to land forcing the pilot to return to Moi airport in Eldoret.

“The plane could not proceed with its journey to Lodwar after one of its tires allegedly fell off while it was still airborne forcing the pilot to re-route it back to Eldoret,” added Ipara.

The craft, which took off at 9.18am from Nairobi to Lodwar, made the emergency landing in Eldoret a few minutes to 10am.

Emergency personnel from Uasin Gishu County government were at hand to supplement efforts by the Kenya Airports Authority to contain the situation.

A senior official at the airport, who declined to be named, said they have launched investigations to establish the cause of the mishap.

“It is too early to predicate the cause of the mishap but we have commenced investigations into the incident,” he said.

In a statement, the Silverstone Air confirmed the incident saying the plane which was flying from Lodwar lost the number 3 wheel assembly.

“We would like to confirm that earlier today, our flight Dash 8-300 from Lodwar to Nairobi experienced an incident during the take-off and as a result, lost the number 3 wheel assembly,” the statement read in part.

The firm added that the captain of the flight decided to divert to the Eldoret airport for the continued safety of the passengers and the crew. 

The company said the customers affected had been rebooked and landed safely in Nairobi.

On October 11, the same airline was involved in another mishap after one its planes bound for Lamu crash landed on the runway at Wilson Airport in Nairobi shortly after takeoff. The airplane flight 5Y-IZO, Fokker 50,  had five crew members and 50 passengers on board, two of whom were injured during the crash.

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