Pilot killed in Tanzania small plane crash

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sunday (Xinhua) -- A four-seat charter plane crashed near the Arusha airport in Tanzania, killing its pilot, police reported on Sunday.

ARUSHA, Tanzania, Sunday (Xinhua) -- A four-seat charter plane crashed near the Arusha airport in Tanzania, killing its pilot, police reported on Sunday.

Owned by Quality Tours and Travellers Ltd, the MT 7 was flying to Arusha from Moshi in Kilimanjaro region late Saturday, when the crash occurred. Its pilot Joseph Sambeke, a well-known businessman and the only person on the plane, died on the spot, police said.

 

The Arusha airport manager, Esther Dede, confirmed the accident, saying the planned crashed 200 meters from the runway before landing.

 

A team of experts from Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) have arrived in Arusha to establish the cause of the accident, she said, adding that it was the first accident happened within the airport.

 

Baraka Krusu, one of the people who reached the scene shortly after the crash, said he heard a loud bang after the plane hit a tree near the airport as it was preparing to land.

Some pilots and aviation experts confided that human error could have been the cause of the crash. 

"He (Joseph Sambeke) could have been rushing to land because the airport is normally closed for traffic at 6:30 p.m.," said one of the Arusha-based pilots who took part in the operations there.

Another pilot suggested the ill-fated plane crashed as the pilot was making a sharp corner to the runway in order to beat the deadline, only to hit a nearby tree.

This was the second fatal air crash in Arusha in less than two years. On October 20, 2011, a light plane PIPER 34-5HQE crashed at Kikatiti near Arusha killing two people, including the pilot. The aircraft was reportedly heading to the Arusha airport.

The Arusha airport, one of the busiest in the country especially with charter planes flying tourists to national parks, witnessed two major accidents in June and July 2008 which claimed the lives of nine people. (Xinhua)

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