A group of air passengers narrowly escaped certain death last week when the wheel of an aircraft they were travelling on came off during a tumultuous touch down at Eldoret International Airport.
The near catastrophic accident which happened on Saturday 29th December, involved an aircraft operated by the notorious and accident-prone Fly 540 aviation.
More than 50 air travelers who were on the Dash-8 300 aircraft operated by Fly 540 aviation were left extremely shaken after emergency services were scrambled at the airport after the wheel system malfunctioned during the thunderous landing.
Airport authorities were unable to reveal the circumstances of the near crash but we learnt that before the incident the aircraft pilots had not notified the control tower of any unusual mid-air occurrences.
Airport workers in Eldoret reported hearing loud bang followed by piercing screeching that could be heard from miles away when the aircraft landed leading to temporary closure of the international airport.
Flights to the airport were diverted to Kisumu while others were delayed.
The travelers most of whom were headed home for new year festivities were extremely lucky the aircraft stayed on course and did not burst into flames. The aircraft came to a halt midway on the runway.
The loud bang and thick smoke that bellowed from where the aircraft brought emergency and security services scrambling to the scene of accident as passengers battled to jump out of the aircraft.
Most passengers interviewed vowed not to use the airline again while eye witnesses told media that the aircraft approached the runway in an awkward angle before smashing on to the runway before the wheel came off.
It is not the first time Fly 540 planes have been involved in near misses or fatal accidents.
In June last year, a Fly 540 aircraft flying under the Fly Sax banner crashed in the Aberdare forest due to what aviation authorities attributed to poor communication and professional negligence.
Another Fly 540 aircraft crash-landed in a maize and cassava plantation on the outskirts of Wilson Airport after it failed to take off one January 27, 2011.
Then on 13 August 2008, all three crew on board a Fly540 Fokker F27 freighter aircraft were killed when it crashed on approach into the Somalian capital of Mogadishu.
A silent storm is brewing among aviation industry stakeholders who have questioned KCAA role in ensuring Fly540’s compliance with safety requirements. The airline has been accused of flouting rules and regulations but KCAA turns a blind eye.
See photos below: