The Kenyan Sunday newspapers are full of details about the missing Kenya Airways aircraft, lost en route from Cameroon to Nairobi. There’s a weird hiatus whilst the search continues over the weekend, to no avail. The new Boeing 737-800 took off in bad weather on Friday night, apparently losing radio contact within an hour of departure. It is assumed that the aeroplane must have crash landed in very thick forest somewhere in the Congo Basin. Search efforts are being hampered by heavy rainfall and motorcyclists have been sent out to scour the area and interview villagers in the hopes of finding information. Air rescue teams are being hampered by rain and thunder storms.
You can’t help envisaging scenes from popular TV disaster programmes like ‘Lost’ and wondering if survivors are toughing it out in the jungle as we speak. There might be passengers thinking; ‘where the hell are the helicopters? what about a rescue mission? has anyone noticed that a plane has gone missing yet?’
Kenya Airways is a great airline. In the ‘70s and ‘80s it was known locally as ‘Kenya Scareways’ but a lot has changed since then. The airline was privatised in 1996 and has been going from strength to strength ever since taking over more routes across the continent and making Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta airport a transit ‘hub’ in Africa. The air crew are always friendly, accommodating and tolerant when we travel with the worst of all accessories (small children). The managing director of Kenya Airways, Titus Naikuni, even got personally involved over the trifling issue of my missing luggage (see previous post – it was eventually found mixed up among BA bags).
Relatives of the missing passengers have been desperate for any news since Saturday morning. It makes you wonder how, in this age of high technology, that a plane carrying 114 people can just disappear?