DP William Ruto’s pilot dies in chopper crash in Turkana
Deputy President William Ruto’s pilot, Captain Mario Magonga, has died in a chopper crash in Turkana.
Kitutu Chache South MP Richard Onyonka, a relative of the deceased, on Monday said the chopper Mr Magonga was flying went off radar near Lake Turkana on Sunday.
He said following a search and rescue mission, the wreckage of the aircraft and the pilot’s body were located on Monday at 2am.
“He (Magonga) went off the radar and they were unable to trace him until about 2am when they found his wreckage. The only thing we know is he was the one flying the helicopter,” he told NTV.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash and Mr Onyonka called on the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to investigate the incident.
In a statement, police said Captain Magonga died with all the four Americans he was flying after their chopper came down at Labolo in Central Island National Park at 8pm.
“Available information indicates that two helicopters had landed earlier at Labolo tented Camp on the National Park’s Island, however one managed to clear the area safely,” the National Police Service said.
“Security personnel dispatched to the scene confirmed that among the five were four Americans and the Kenyan pilot.”
Security teams have been dispatched to the scene to assist with recovery of the wreck and the bodies.
“The cause of the incident is yet to be established and the details of the deceased will be released once the next of kin have been notified.”
Captain Magonga worked for Tropic Air Kenya until June 2015, when he left to pursue his flying career.
“An exceptional helicopter pilot, Mario has also been the source of strength, laughter and spirit, both in the office and in the air, and we will miss him,” Tropic Air says in a June 23, 2015 Facebook post.
The late captain has has been described as a pilot “with exceptional flying skills”, with Mr Onyonka, his cousin, saying he had been cleared to flying high-profile guests, including former US President Barack Obama.