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Regulator opens Silverstone probe after new mishap

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A Silverstone Air plane at Wilson airport. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The aviation sector regulator has opened investigations into Silverstone Air Services to determine its safety compliance following an incident Monday that saw a wheel drop off one of its aircraft on takeoff.
  • This was the latest incident involving the carrier that is raising questions about the safety of the airline’s fleet.
  • Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Gilbert Kibe said the probe has been necessitated by safety concerns raised by the two recent incidents.

The aviation sector regulator has opened investigations into Silverstone Air Services to determine its safety compliance following an incident Monday that saw a wheel drop off one of its aircraft on takeoff.

This was the latest incident involving the carrier that is raising questions about the safety of the airline’s fleet.

Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Gilbert Kibe said the probe has been necessitated by safety concerns raised by the two recent incidents.

Silverstone Air flight Dash 8-300 lost one of its tyres when it took off from Lodwar Airstrip Monday, the second mishap involving the airline within a month after another aircraft belonging to the firm skidded off the runway and crashed shortly after takeoff from Wilson Airport October 11.

In yesterday’s incident, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Eldoret.

The airline in a statement yesterday confirmed the incident.

The carrier operates a direct flight between Lodwar and Nairobi daily.

“KCAA is currently carrying out an audit inspection on the airline after various air incidents and an accident involving Silverstone Air Services,” said Mr Kibe.

“The audit is being performed in order to determine the level of compliance with the current civil aviation regulations and their own company approved manuals and procedures,” he added.

Mr Kibe said the investigation is being conducted by the Air Accident Investigation Department (AAID) under the Ministry of Transport.

In the earlier crash, witnesses said the aircraft with 50 passengers and five crew members lost its way during takeoff to Mombasa on its way to Lamu.

It stopped outside the airport next to the Southern bypass, which connects Mombasa Road to Kikuyu in Kiambu County.

Residents of Park Estate said they heard a thud when the plane hit the ground.

This was then followed by sirens and strobe lights from ambulances and fire brigades.