Governor Samuel Tunai, several others survive chopper crash

Governor Samuel Tunai, several others survive chopper crash

What you need to know:

  • The accident occurred as they left Enkipejus village in Narok North Sub-county, where they had attended the burial of Mzee Tompo ole Sasai, father of county Finance executive Julius Sasai.
  • When contacted, Governor Tunai said he was fine and was being driven to the capital city. Red Cross personnel examined him at the scene before he boarded a vehicle to Nairobi.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, Narok East MP Lemanken Aramat and several others cheated death Saturday when the chopper they were flying in crash-landed shortly after take-off.

The accident occurred as they left Enkipejus village in Narok North Sub-county, where they had attended the burial of Mzee Tompo ole Sasai, father of county Finance executive Julius Sasai.

Governor Tunai and MP Aramat were in the aircraft with security personnel and a pilot identified as Marc Goose, head of the Rapid Response Unit at Mara Elephant Project.

Witness Joseph Kamotho said the pilot tried to take off several times but was unable to.

"The chopper took off after the fifth attempt but crash-landed after about 100m," he said, adding it produced a “strange sound”.

The aircraft, registration 5Y-MEP, crashed into a wheat plantation near Olkipejush village, with its tail section cut off from the main body. 

The wreckage of the aircraft in which Narok Governor Samuel Tunai travelled to Enkipejus village in Melili, Narok North Sub-county, for a burial on October 17, 2020.

Photo credit: George Sayagie | Nation Media Group

The aircraft, which had the writings "Mara Trust", belongs to the Karen Blixen Camp Trust and is used for wildlife conservation activities at the Maasai Mara. It is a regular feature whenever elephants invade human settlements.

The cause of the crash was not immediately established but reports pointed at mechanical problems while the pilot said he suspected the causes were bad weather and a high altitude.

Narok County ranger cordoned off the scene.

Panic

Area MCA Moses ole Samante said the governor and the other people were pulled out of the wreckage amid screams as residents panicked but that he was out of danger.

Red Cross personnel examined him at the scene before he boarded a vehicle to Nairobi, he said.

When contacted, Governor Tunai said he was fine and was being driven to the capital city.

"I am okay. Narok people should be calm," he told the Nation on phone, adding he suffered “a little shock” but was not in danger and did not sustain any visible injuries.

“I'm just fine. There is no cause for alarm,” he said, adding the other occupants also did not sustain any physical injuries.

Narok East MP Lemanken Aramat and Narok Governor Samuel Tunai take a selfie along the Standard Gauge Railway at Duka Moja following a chopper accident in Narok North on October 17, 2020.

Photo credit: Courtesy

The governor uses choppers to travel to different parts of the county as road transport would take long since the county is vast.

He attended the burial of a former Knut executive secretary in Nkareta village before heading to Enkipejus.

Mr Aramat said, ”We are okay. None of us are injured and we are on our way to Nairobi. Don’t worry. There is no need for panic. We are just fine.”

Earlier, Council Of Governors chair Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) also assured the public that the governor was not injured in the incident.

“We request the people of Narok County to remain calm as the doctors attend to the Governor. The Council of Governors wishes Governor Tunai and the other affected passengers a speedy recovery.”

He said the governor was taken to Narok County Referral Hospital. It was reported later on Saturday that Mr Tunai had been taken to the Aga Khan University Hospital.

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