Two years on, no closure for kin of Nakuru chopper crash
Two years after helicopter 5Y-NMJ plunged into Lake Nakuru, claiming the lives of five people, families of the victims are yet to get the final report on the crash.
Families of the October 21, 2017 accident say they have not received any communication or report from the investigating agencies about the circumstances in which the helicopter owned and operated by Flex Air Charters went down on that fateful morning.
Those who died in the accident were the pilot Apollo Malowa, Veronicah Muthoni, Sam Gitau, Anthony Kipyegon and John Njuguna Mapozi. Kipyegon, Gitau and Mapozi worked for Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika.
The bodies of Malowa, Muthoni and Kipyegon were recovered but those of Gitau and Mapozi were never found.
David Mwangi, Muthoni’s father, says the delay in issuing the report had traumatise the victims’ families and prevented them from having a closure or even making a claim from the aircraft’s insurer.
“We are yet to be informed about the final reports on what might have happened to our loved ones. It has been two years but we still have many questions that are unanswered,” Mwangi told People Daily recently at his, Bahati, Nakuru home.
According to aircraft regulations, the investigations team is supposed to release the report before the end of 12 months, and if it is not possible, issue an interim statement about the status of the report.
With the final report, the families of the victims could lodge an official compensation claim with the aircraft insurer.
Mwangi says while the crash victims’ families had initially agreed on an out-of-court settlement on compensation with the aircraft owners, the latter backed out of the deal brokered by Senator Kihika.
“We resolved to pursue compensation in court but we are still open to a deal if they are willing,” he said.
The Director-General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Gilbert Kibe says the time it takes for an aircraft crash report to be released depends on many factors, including the nature and circumstances of the accident.
“The time it takes for an aircraft crash report to be released depends on many factors and the circumstances investigators face,” he told People Daily.
He said the person with the final mandate on a crash report is the chief investigator of aircraft accidents, who is under the Ministry of Transport.