Is Kenya disaster-ready? Questions after Lake Nakuru chopper crash
Bodies of the occupants of the chopper that crashed into Lake Nakuru on Saturday morning are yet to be recovered, more than 24 hours since the search mission began.
This, once again bringing into question the level of the country’s preparedness to both natural and man-made disasters.
The helicopter, owned and operated by Flex Air Charters, crashed at around 7:30 am on Saturday, October 21 barely half-an-hour after take-off from Jarika County Lodge in Nakuru.
The National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU) activated a national police chopper to support the Nakuru County Disaster team on a search and rescue operation.
The rescue team had to mobilize speed boats from Lake Naivasha, 93 KM away. The boats arrived four hours later.
The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) team arrived early at the scene but could not start any activity as they lacked the necessary equipment for the mission.
Nearly eight hours into the operation, the wreckage of the helicopter was sighted, although the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority confirmed there was no survivor.
The rescue team reported that the wreckage appeared intact, but they were unable to access it due to its location and presence of hippos around it.
By evening, neither the victims nor the wreckage had been pulled out of the saline waters, with the rescue teams having to call off the operation due to poor visibility as a result of darkness.
Kenya Navy divers from Mombasa resumed the search operation Sunday morning at 6.30 am.
Bodies of the five occupants; Captain Apollo Malowa, Sam Gitau, Mapozi John, Anthony Kipyego and a Veronicah, are yet to be found.
Kenya Red Cross has since set up an information desk at Lake Nakuru and are providing psychological support services.
Here are some reactions from Kenyans who feel the relevant authorities have not handled the crash incident in the right manner.
Looking at previous tragedies in Kenya and what is happening after the helicopter crash in Lake Nakuru, it is clear that, disaster management in Kenya, is a disaster on its own!
— Wambui (@Waambui) October 21, 2017
We have a disaster management unit but with no resources and capacity.
— 2515199 (@Leon2515199) October 21, 2017
Imagine a lake like lake Nakuru doesn't have a single motor boat!! In South Africa, rivers have motor boats.
— George Kay (@lyfkali1) October 21, 2017