Two Ugandan military helicopters crash-land in Kenya

August 13th, 2012 - 10:08 pm ICT by BNO News  

NAIROBI, KENYA (BNO NEWS) — Two Ugandan military helicopters crash-landed in Kenya on Sunday, officials said on Monday, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities. A third Ugandan helicopter made an emergency landing while a fourth arrived safely at its destination.

The Uganda People’s Defense Force said it accounted all four Mil Mi-24 helicopters which were reported missing in Kenyan airspace on Sunday. The helicopters had taken off from a base in the Ugandan city of Entebbe and were scheduled to refuel in the Kenyan town of Wajir before continuing their flight to Somalia.

There were conflicting reports about the details of the incident, but the Ugandan military said Monday that all 28 troops and crew members on board the helicopters are safe. One helicopter was said to have made a safe landing in the Kenyan city of Garissa while a second helicopter made an emergency landing near Mount Kenya.

“Kenya Defense Forces have finally located the missing Ugandan helicopters in the slopes of Mount Kenya,” a spokesperson for the Kenyan Red Cross said. “One helicopter crash-landed in the forested and elephant-ridden agricultural area of Kamweti in Kirinyaga county. The other helicopter has been traced at Gathiuru forest.”

The Ugandan helicopters were being sent to Somalia to reinforce the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), but a spokesman there had no details about Sunday’s incident. “I am monitoring the news. An investigation is currently underway. Once I get more facts, I will get back to you,” AMISOM spokesman Eloi Yao said.

It was not immediately known if the helicopters were seriously damaged or if they could still be deployed to Somalia, where they were to be used for aerial combat against Somali militants. They were also expected to provide aerial support for convoys, reconnaissance missions along supply routes, medical evacuations, and search-and-rescue operations.

The cause of Sunday’s incident was also not immediately known, but weather conditions in the area were said to have been unfavorable.

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