Below are a series of press-cuttings covering the breaking story of Professor George Saitoti’s helicopter crash into the Ngong Hills. This was a harrowing event that many Kenyans remember well to this day; this much is evident in the messages of condolence left for the great man and documented here.
Read on below for the accounts presented by many of Kenya’s media houses on how the helicopter carrying George Saitoti and five other Kenyans.
If you are also interested in the Kenya Forum’s analysis of how the crash happened, pieced together as a result of intensive investigative research, read this article:
‘George Saitoti’s helicopter crash: what really happened’
FROM THE SUNDAY NATION:
Kenya’s Internal Security minister Prof George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojode and four others were killed when a Police chopper crashed in Kibiku area in Ngong forest reportedly at 9am on Sunday. [Press-cutting included link to live stream of events here, that has been edited out].
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka who arrived at the scene with Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere confirmed that the two ministers died in the crash along with Prof Saitoti’s two bodyguards and two pilots.
“It’s unbelievable and painful to Kenya and I send my condolences to President Kibaki, families and friends of Prof Saitoti and Orwa Ojode,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Mwai Kibaki has also sent a message of condolences to the families and friends of Prof Saitoti and Orwa Ojode.
“It is with great sadness that this morning I learnt of the tragic deaths of the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Prof George Saitoti and the Assistant Minister in the ministry Hon Orwa Ojode, their body guards and the pilot and co-pilot of the police helicopter that they were travelling in. The deaths of the six Kenyans is a devastating loss to our country,” he said.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya I send my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and relatives of the six Kenyans. Minister Saitoti will forever be remembered as a hardworking and determined public servant who dedicated his time to the service of the Kenyan people,” he said.
He added: “At this moment of great national grief my prayers are with the families of those who perished.”
Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Sunday cancelled all his engagements in Nakuru and rushed to the scene of the plane crash.
“Investigations will be conducted to establish the cause of the crash and the Cabinet will determine the number of days for mourning,” he said at the scene of the accident.
“It is a bad coincidence that the deaths of Prof Saitoti and Mr Ojode have occurred on the fourth anniversary of the deaths of the late Minister Kipkalia Kones and the late MP for Sotik Lorna Laboso who also perished in plane crash,” he said.
The bodies of the deceased have been taken to Lee Funeral for post-mortem.
Others who perished included Pilots Luke Oyugi and Nancy Gituanja together with two bodyguards Joshua Tonkei and Thomas Murimi.
The two were heading to Orwa Ojode’s Ndhiwa Constituency for a church fundraising activity.
It is exactly four years when a chopper carrying MPs Kipkalya Kones and Lorna Laboso crashed in Narok.
According to an eye witness, the helicopter was seen diving from the sky and full of smoke before crushing and exploding into flames.
“The Chopper was filled with smoke before it crashed. I heard two explosions as it went up in flames,” said Rose Kwamboka.
Another eye witness Leonard Njoroge said he saw the chopper sway one kilometre away from his homestead before it crashed between 8am and 8:30am.
“The chopper crashed and exploded on impact scattering money and books and only its tail seemed intact,” he said. The plane destroyed trees as it missed my homestead.”
FROM STANDARD MEDIA DIGITAL:
Internal Security Minister Prof George Saitoti and his assistant minister Joshua Orwa Ojodeh are among six people who died in a police helicopter crash Sunday morning in the Ngong area on the outskirts of Nairobi.
Saitoti and Orwa Ojode were aboard the helicopter make -Eurocopter AS 350 which crashed at 8.30am in Kibiku area in Ngong. The two leaders, their bodyguards and the two pilots perished in the accident. The helicopter is said to have exploded on impact.
The Vice President Kalonzo and Commissioner of Police Matthew Iteere said immediate investigations have been launched to establish the cause of the accident.
“Tragedy has struck the country and I bring the the condelences of President Kibaki to the families and all Kenyans. It is a dark day as we pray for the souls of the selfless colleagues who have died,” Kalonzo said.
The Chopper left early in the morning from Wilson Aiport and was headed towards Ndhiwa in Homabay County before the tragedy occured.
The bodies of the deceased have been taken to Lee Funeral Home.
Parts of the wreckage scene including pistols were visvible at the crash scene.
Military police arrived at the scene as well as top government officials among them Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende, AP Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua, PPO Nairobi Area Anthony Kibuchi.
There was no survivor in the morning crash.
FROM CAPITAL FM:
In his message of condolences, President Mwai Kibaki said he learnt of the news with shock.
“It is with great sadness that this morning I learnt of the tragic deaths of the Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration Prof George Saitoti and the Assistant Minister in the ministry Hon. Orwa Ojode, their bodyguards, the pilot and co-pilot of the police helicopter that they were travelling in. The deaths of the six Kenyans is a devastating loss to our country.”
He sent messages of condolences on behalf of the Government and the people of Kenya to the family, friends and relatives of the six Kenyans.
He said Saitoti would forever be remembered as a hardworking and determined public servant who dedicated his time to the service of the Kenyan people.
“Just last Friday at the Conference on Peace in Mombasa, Hon. Saitoti spoke eloquently and passionately about the many police reforms that his ministry was undertaking. He leaves behind a rich legacy of service to the country.”
“The Hon Orwa Ojode will be remembered for his focused approach while undertaking his duties with great zeal and determination as an Assistant Minister and the Member of Parliament for Ndhiwa Constituency.”
He said his prayers were with the families of pilots Luke Oyugi and Nancy Gituanja, as well as bodyguards Inspector Joshua Tonkei and Sergeant Thomas Murimi.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:
George Saitoti, the internal security minister, was travelling to a church service south of the capital with his deputy, Joshua Ojode, when their police helicopter came down in forested hills near the town of Ngong.
There were no immediate reports of foul play in the crash, which also killed two bodyguards and two pilots.
However, Mr Saitoti, who planned to stand as a presidential candidate in Kenya’s 2013 elections, spearheaded the country’s fight against Somali jihadists’ promises to explode bombs in Nairobi.
This raised questions as to whether the crash was caused by a terrorist attack.
“There is nothing to suggest that this is anything other than a very tragic accident,” a Kenyan police spokesman said.
Mr Saitoti, 66, was born to a poor family in Masailand south of Nairobi, but went on to education in Britain and the US and rose to become one of his generation’s most respected academic mathematicians.
He was finance minister under the former president, Danial arap Moi, and served as vice-president on several occasions between 1988 and 2002.
Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s president, said the deaths were “a devastating loss to our country”.
“Minister Saitoti will forever be remembered as a hardworking and determined public servant who dedicated his time to the service of the Kenyan people,” he said on Sunday.