NAIROBI, KENYA (BNO NEWS) -- Kenyan Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and five others were killed on Sunday when their helicopter crashed in a forest near the capital Nairobi, officials said. It happened exactly four years after another crash also killed two cabinet ministers.
The accident happened at around 8:30 a.m. local time when the Eurocopter AS350 police helicopter crashed in Ngong forest near the capital Nairobi, just minutes after it took off from Wilson Airport. The aircraft, which was heading for a fundraiser, was carrying Saitoti, his deputy minister Joshua Orwa Ojodeh, two bodyguards and two pilots.
Photos and videos from the scene showed the helicopter, which was acquired from Eurocopter earlier this year, was completely destroyed upon impact. "I watched the helicopter, it looked like it was burning while up in the air. A few minutes later we heard a loud bang and we rushed to the scene to find the wreckage and the bodies," a witness told Kenya's The Nation newspaper.
Saitoti, who was closely involved in the fight against the Somali militant group al-Shabaab, had been active in Kenyan politics for more than 30 years. He represented Kenya in the East African Legislative Assembly from 1974 to 1977 and served as the country's sixth vice president for thirteen years before he became a cabinet minister.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but authorities were treating it as an accident.
Sunday's crash happened exactly four years after Roads Minister Kipkalya Kones and Assistant Home Affairs Minister Lorna Laboso were killed when their small plane crashed near the Maasai Mara game reserve in southwestern Kenya. Two others were also killed in the crash, which happened during bad weather.
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