kenya helicopter crash americans and vip pilot dead

Kenya helicopter crash: Americans and VIP pilot dead

One of the lakes on Central Island National Park Image copyright Kenya Wildlife Service
Image caption Central Island National Park has three crater lakes

A helicopter has crashed in northern Kenya, killing four American tourists and their Kenyan pilot, officials say.

The helicopter reportedly crashed in Central Island National Park on Sunday.

Police said two helicopters had landed on the island’s Labolo tented camp on Sunday evening – one flew away safely. The cause of the crash is not known.

Local media say the pilot, Mario Magonga, once worked for the country’s deputy president and had extensive training and experience.

He had previously served as a Kenya Defence Forces pilot, but had been working for a private firm, KIDL Helicopters, since March 2017.

Richard Onyonka – a relative of the pilot and the area’s MP – said Cpt Magonga had been cleared to fly several high profile guests in the past, including former US President Barack Obama.

“[He] was one of the best helicopter pilots that money could buy,” Mr Onyonka told Kenya’s NTV.

The accident comes just three weeks after a separate plane crash in Kenya which killed five people including three Americans.