A Kenyan plane that was destined for Nairobi from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire plunged into a mangrove swamp in Douala, Cameroon, killing all the 114 passengers that were on board on May 5, 2007.
According to Air Crash Investigation, an investigative series that aired on National Geographic, on December 11, 2019, Captain Francis Mbatia, 52, might have led to the fatal crash.
The aired feature based its findings from a 2010 report by Cameroon’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Red Cross workers arrive near the scene of a plane crash in a swampy area
“The plane climbed to 2500ft, banked to the right and dived towards the mangrove swamp killing all 114 people on board,” the feature began.
On the day the crash took place, there was bad weather but the report stated that the crash had nothing to do with it.
The plane, which was from Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire had 55 passengers on board and was headed to Doula. 38 of the passengers were to disembark at the airport.
“The plane took off from the airport (Abidjan) at 6.45 p.m. and landed at Doula at 10.01 p.m. The passengers disembarked and the passengers from Douala to Nairobi boarded the flight,” the reporter narrated.
The total of those on board were 114. 108 were passengers while 6 were crew members.
According to the report, there was a delay in the departure of the flight due to bad weather conditions and two more planes were also waiting for the weather to clear up.
The two airlines waited for the weather to improve but the crew decided to depart.
“The pilot in command failed to seek takeoff clearance from the Airport Control Tower and the aircraft started its takeoff,” the report stated.
The plane is said to have crashed less than two minutes after takeoff.
“The aeroplane crashed after the loss of control by the crew as a result of spatial disorientation, after a long slow roll during which no instrument scanning was done and in the absence of external visual references in a dark night,” the report stated.
Additionally, the report stated that just before the warning sounded the Captain turned further right, instead of correcting to the left, therefore increasing the bank and ultimately sending the plane into a spiral.
The investigation added that the pilot and his first officer, Andrew Kiuru, 23, didn’t have external visual references though they were flying in darkness in a heavy downpour.