A Kenyan-based Safarilink plane was forced to turn back to the port of departure after its horizontal stabiliser was struck by a light aircraft flying on the same path.

Wilson-based Safarilink carrier had received clearance for takeoff from Wilson Airport shortly after 9AM, following the designated path, when the incident involving a Cessna aircraft from 99 Flying Club occurred.

Safarilink’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Avedi, confirmed the occurrence, assuring that none of the 44 passengers and crew onboard the budget carrier were affected.

Mr Avedi said that the Safarilink crew, upon hearing a loud bang, initially believed it to be a bird strike and promptly executed necessary precautions by turning the aircraft back to Wilson.

“After inspecting the aircraft, our crew discovered damage to the horizontal stabiliser and promptly reported the matter to the relevant authorities,” stated Mr Avedi.

Tragically, the trainee pilot and instructor aboard the light aircraft crash-landed at Nairobi National Park, resulting in both fatalities.

Kenya’s aviation regulator, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, has initiated an investigation into the incident, with further details to be disclosed in due course.

Safarilink’s aircraft was en route to Diani, while the trainee pilot was approaching Wilson Airport at the time of the collision.

Mr Avedi said the affected passengers were promptly transferred to another aircraft, resuming their journey to Kenya’s South Coast by 11 a.m.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org