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Five people have been killed in the crash of a Bell 505 helicopter in Kenya — the first fatal crash for the model that was certified in December 2016.
According to a statement from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), two helicopters lifted from Lake Turkana Central Island heading to Lobolo Camp at approximately 8:35 p.m. on March 3. Soon after takeoff, one of the helicopters, a Bell 505 with registration 5YKDL, lost contact and crashed on the Island.
“A rescue team was dispatched immediately and they arrived at the Central Island at around 11:20 p.m. and located the wreckage at 3:20 a.m. with no survivors,” the statement reads.
The KCAA reported that there were five people on board the aircraft, four U.S. citizens and the pilot, Capt. Marious Magonga.
According to news reports, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi identified three of the other victims as Anders Asher Jesiah Burke, Kyle John Forti, and Brandon Howe Stapper.
The Bell 505 had been delivered last year to KIDL Helicopter Operations, a Nairobi-based company specializing in VIP transport. On its website, KIDL describes chief pilot “Mario” Magonga as an ATP and qualified helicopter instructor trained in the Kenya Defence Forces with more than 5,500 hours of experience on single and multi-engine types.
According to the KCAA, investigations into the crash have commenced with Kenya’s Air Accident Investigation Department.
A Bell spokesperson told Vertical, “All of us at Bell are deeply saddened to hear of the Bell 505 accident involving KIDL Helicopter in Kenya. Our thoughts go out to the passengers that were aboard the helicopter and KIDL Helicopter. We offer our deepest sympathy and stand ready to assist the authorities with any investigation support.”