Dar es Salaam. The plane that crashed, killing two pilots in Zanzibar yesterday had spent several days undergoing maintenance for a number of mechanical faults.
The Citizen learnt yesterday as more details emerged on the ill-fated test flight at the Abeid Aman Karume International Airport.
A young engineer, 26-year-old Edger Mcha, and Dominic Bomani, 64, died after the four-seater 5H-TDH aircraft they were flying crashed during a test flight.
The accident took place around 1pm shortly after taking off in the Isles where the plane – a property of the National Institute of Transport (NIT) – had been taken for maintenance.
Head of the Aviation College in Dar es Salaam, Dr Mbire Rufunjo, said preliminary investigations revealed that the plane developed an electric fault, which sparked a fire. The plane’s oil tank was full, he noted.
In an interview with The Citizen, a senior engineer with Tropical Air, Mr David Kisusi, said: “It was a trial flight after maintenance, but the plane crashed and caught fire. We have lost competent pilots in the aviation sector.”
A specialist at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar, Dr Msafiri Marijani, confirmed the deaths of the two pilots, revealing that they died after sustaining serious injuries and lack of enough oxygen.
The pilots who perished in the accident were “famous for the maintenance and monitoring of aircrafts”, Dr Rufunjo said as he urged for patience from the families of the deceased.
“They were our colleagues, and we should honour their efforts by significantly contributing to the development and prosperity of our college,” he said.
He also called upon trainee pilots not to fear the occurrence of such accidents, but instead focus on learning to become the best in their careers.