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Crash plane flew like injured bird: Witness
SOSTHENES MWITA, Dodoma
Sunday News; Sunday,June 03, 2007 @00:02
THE military passenger plane that crash landed at Kizota developed dual engine failure as the pilot manoeuvred to land at Dodoma airport last Friday, the plane's captain, Lieutenant Colonel S.M.

Mayenga, said here yesterday. It was not clear what caused the engines to stall but Col. Mayenga said his immediate concern switched to the safety of his passengers and also to avoid ground casualties in the high density settlement corridor to the airport.

Eye witness Ms Jane Charles, whose house was nearly hit by the plane, said she saw it flying like 'an injured bird,' banking from side to side before it crash landed with a noisy bang, she said.

Col Mayenga managed to glide into a maize field where he belly landed the Dar es Salaam bound plane causing extensive damage to the front landing gear but saved the lives of those on board and also avoided ground casualties. He had taken off from Sumbawanga, several hundred nautical miles south.

Dr Dausen Kimaro of the Regional hospital said Ms Mnyagani Kanduru (32) who suffered head injury had been discharged. The other two patients, Wilfred Mfunjo (53), a soldier and civilian Ms Emmablis Mwambezi (41) of Majengo Mapya in Sumbawanga were doing well. They were all likely to be discharged today, he added.

Upon hitting ground, the plane covered about 100 metres sliding on its undercarriage before it turned westwards just avoiding a house and stopped only 10 metres away from another house.

Insurers often calculated aircraft accident premiums on a 100 per cent on board casualties and 20 per cent ground fatalities formula.

Army Chief of Logistics and Engineering, Major General Sylvester Ryoba said Mayenga was an experienced airman with 33 years of being in the skies.

He was flying a 25-year old Shorts Sharper made in Ireland. A special team of accident investigators would establish
the cause of the crash, he explained.
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