Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kenya Airways crash site discovered in Cameroon

Management at Kenya Airways confirms that its missing Boeing 737-800 has been located in a mangrove swamp, 20km South-East of Douala, along the aircraft's planned flight path. Contact had been lost with Kenya Airways Flight KQ 507 yesterday shortly after it departed Douala for Nairobi.

A message on the Kenya Airways website says that search and rescue operations are in progress, but that they have "no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties." The search and rescue team is still at the accident scene.

The names of the crew members who were on board Flight KQ 507 have been released by the airline. They are:
  • Wamwea Francis Mbatia - Captain
  • Wanyoike Andrew Kiuru - First Officer
  • Kiiru Phylis Njeri - Flight Purser
  • Njoroge Allan Njenga - Flight Attendant
  • Nyakweba Lydia Mocheche - Flight Attendant
  • Ong’ondo Elizabeth Achieng - Flight Attendant
  • Wakhu Shantaben Niriza - Flight Attendant
  • Kadurenge Cyprian Mande - Flight Attendant
  • Kisilu William Muia - Flight Engineer
The names were released once these crew members' next of kin were informed. There is no official word yet on their condition.

The new release notes that a newspaper published, incorrectly, the name of Henry Muchiri as the Flight Engineer on board the ill-fated flight. Mr. Muchiri was not aboard the aircraft that was lost; he is well and "on official duty in Dakar."

The news release with the crew names also has a list of passenger names and their nationalities. Click here to view the list.

An article on BBC News about this latest development says that search efforts initially focused on an area of dense jungle under the plane's intended flight path from Douala. Later, the searchers turned their attention to a mangrove swamp area where fishermen reported hearing noises the night the plane disappeared. It was the fishermen who led rescuers to the site of the crash.

When there is reliable information about the fate of the crew and passengers, I will post it.

UPDATE May 7, 2007: At this writing, Kenya Airways officials have not yet confirmed officially that there are no survivors of the accident near Douala. However news reports on usually reliable media outlets such as BBC News quote those who have visited the accident scene who say that there are "no signs of survivors" and that rescue workers have been recovering body parts from the area around the downed aircraft. In short, the outlook for finding any survivors is extremely poor, to put it mildly.

Condolences to all whose loved ones were aboard Flight KQ 507.

Here is a new link to the passenger list on the KQ website. Unlike the link above (yesterday's post) this link goes to a web page, not a 'pdf' file.