Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has issued a statement following an incident where a man was captured dangerously hanging on a chopper ferrying Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.
Through a statement dated Thursday, June 23, KCAA condemned the security breach which occurred at the Kiegoi market in Meru after Munya held a rally on that ground.
The authority disclosed that the stowaway behind the incident has been apprehended and was helping the detectives with further investigations.
“The culprit in this incident is in police custody and the Authority is coordinating with law enforcement agencies to ensure the due course of the law as espoused in the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations is observed,” their statement read in part.
KCAA Director General Emile Arao explained that following the incident, they were collaborating with law enforcement officers to ensure political leaders abide by the aviation laws.
“The authority categorically emphasizes that hanging on to choppers poses an unnecessary danger to persons and property. Members of the public seen to approach the aircraft landing and take-off sites will be held culpable. Further, operators are reminded that,” Arao remarked.
To further enforce aviation laws, KCAA instructed all political leaders to make prior arrangements with helicopter operators to secure their aircraft through local administration and the National Police Service.
The authority also directed pilots operating the aircraft to have the responsibility of making the best safety precautions including making a correct judgment on where to land.
“The guideline is to land and take-off at least 3km from the activity venue and to ensure at least 30 meters radius free of people,” their statement added.
KCAA further asked helicopter owners to provide sufficient briefing to clients and ensure they do not jeopardize the safe operation of the aircraft including rules on addressing the crowds and engaging in crowd-pulling stunts.
In 2017, an unidentified man who was dubbed James Bond hung on a chopper ferrying Azimio Presidential candidate Raila Odinga after he visited Meru county for a voter registration exercise in Maili Tatu grounds, Igembe Central.
The pilot later landed the plane 20 kilometres away from the grounds with the stowaway still on board.
The incident forced KCAA to revise aviation rules urging all political leaders to abide by them in a bid to avert more incidents of supporters hanging on choppers.