Kenya Airways flight with 301 passengers makes emergency landing in Greece

A Kenya Airways flight made an emergency landing in Greece Saturday after smoke was detected in the plane.

The KQ Flight 117 from Amsterdam to Nairobi with 301 passengers was flying over Greece, when one of the smoke sensors in the cargo hold triggered a fire alarm.

The pilot announced a diversion on the PA system moments before the plane made a steep descent to land in Athens.

A former Nation editor Rashid Abdi, who was on board, paid tribute to Captain Muiruri saying he handled the matter professionally.

"It was very scary, indeed, but I think the crew and the captain handled the emergency pretty remarkably," said Mr Abdi.


“I am thankful a potential disaster was averted by the quick thinking action of the flight deck."

Kenya Airways managing director Titus Naikuni confirmed the incident.

Fire warning

He said the aircraft, a Boeing 777 200ER, was diverted to Athens at 1am Kenyan time because there was a fire warning indication in one of the cargo holds.

“As is the normal standard procedure in the industry, the fire suppression system was activated and the aircraft diverted to the nearest airport for further assessment.

"The flight landed safely in Athens and all passengers and crew were taken to a hotel in Athens. The functional tests and profiling of the cargo to confirm the source of the fire warning required a rescheduling of the flight,” he said in a statement.

Mr Abdi said the plane was towed to a hangar for repairs.

“All tests that have been conducted on the fire detection system confirm that it is functioning properly. The flight is now scheduled to depart Athens today (Saturday) at 5pm Kenyan time arriving in Nairobi at 10.55 pm,” Mr Naikuni said.

Many of the passengers were tourists heading to Kenya's game parks and resorts and transit passengers heading for other destinations in southern Africa.