Kenya’s Transport Ministry said Monday a panel has been set up to investigate the death of Interior Minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojode, and four Police officers in a helicopter crash near the capital, Nairobi, on Sunday.
Police Air Wing Commandant said engine failure could have caused the crash of the aircraft after ruling out the possibility that poor visibility was responsible.
The panel was set up on Monday after a special cabinet sitting discuss the crisis on the first day of a three-day national mourning for the minister and his official aides.
Transport Minister Amos Kimunya announced the appointment of Kenyan High Court Judge, Kalpana Rawal, former Air force Commander, Major General Harold Tangai, and George McOwenga to the investigating panel.
Kimunya said the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents was at the crash site checking for details of what may have led to the crash of the Police helicopter.
“The investigations are going on. The chief air accidents investigator is on site,” Kimunya said, adding that the public inquest would be carried out to determine the cause of the accident.
The latest accident took place the same day that another helicopter crash occurred four years ago (on 10 June, 2008), killing another minister and assistant minister, Kipkalyia Kones and Lorna Labosso respectively.
Meanwhile, the East African Community (EAC) Secretary-General Richard Sezibera sent his condolence messages to the Kenyan President for the loss of the six officials.
“It is with great shock and sadness that we have received the tragic news of the demise of the Minister of Internal Security, Prof. George Saitoti, his deputy, Ojode, and the four other officials on board the police helicopter that crashed at Ngong Forest,” the EAC said in a statement.
The EAC chief said Saitoti was a well known statesman and academician in East Africa.
Saitoti represented Kenya in the East African Legislative Assembly in the first East Africa Community from 1974-1977