GASABO - A Rwandair aircraft yesterday crashed into the VIP lounge two minutes after taking off from the Kigali International Airport, killing one passenger.
The unnamed Rwandan passenger died shortly after reaching King Faisal Hospital in Kigali. The afternoon plane was headed for Uganda and had fifteen people on board.
The pilot was among the injured. The co-pilot was by press time still trapped inside the plane. The plane crash put airport business activities at standstill for hours.
Rwandair acting CEO, Jack Ekl told The NewTimes the plane, leased from the Nairobi-based Jetlink Express, had technical difficulties shortly after taking off and requested an emergency landing.
“It was something to do with the engine but we are still investigating the exact cause,” Ekl explained.
An eyewitness said the plane crashed at a time when another plane- Kenya Airlines was preparing to take off.
“It was going to be a disaster but the pilot managed to dodge us and instead crashed into the VIP lounge,” the eyewitness, who was aboard Kenya Airways said.
Following the accident, the Kenya Airways flight was cancelled, leaving over 100 passengers stranded. Richard Masozera, Director General of Rwanda Civil Aviation Authority described the accident as unfortunate and an isolated case.
Meanwhile, an ambulance that was carrying an injured pilot from the airport knocked two motorcycles and pedestrians as it sped off to King Faisal Hospital.
The pedestrian identified as Vincent Ruvuna died instantly, also injuring those in the ambulance even more.
BY IGNATIUS SSUUNA, EDWIN MUSONI
AND GASHEEGU MURAMILA