The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority on Tuesday conducted a drill for a search and Rescue (SAR) operation that involved simulating a missing plane incident.
The exercise had sent panic in several quarters with some taking to social media claiming that a plane from Rusinga Island with six passengers had disappeared off the KCAA radar.
It later turned out that it was a multi-agency drill involving KCAA, the National Police Service, Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya Meteorological Department, National Disaster Operations Centre, Kenya Wildlife Services, Ministry of Health, Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Airways.
“This exercise being the first of its kind in the region was meticulously planned for over a year. The planning process involved communication and desktop exercises culminating in the full scale drill with independent evaluators on board.The lessons learnt will address any gaps within the search and rescue system which shall go a long way in ensuring rapid and reliable search and rescue services in Kenya,” KCAA Director General Capt. Gilbert M. Kibe said.
KCAA said the Aviation Search and Rescue Exercise dubbed OKOA MAISHA ASAREX 2019, was aimed at assessing the State’s level of preparedness.
The teams were tested on coordination, communication, command and control of the National Aeronautical Search and Rescue system in responding to an aviation incident or accident.
The last time a plane was reported missing was in June last year: the light aircraft had left Kitale in the afternoon and was enroute to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
Two days later, the Fly SAX aircraft with registration No. 5Y CAC was discovered at Elephant Point in the Aberdares: there were no survivors.
An investigation report released last month blamed the two pilots, Captain Barbara Wangechi Kamau and her first officer Jean Mureithi, for professional negligence and poor communication.