No Reports On Survivors, Casualties
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
05.06.07 16.54 EDT: Kenya Airways confirmed the
wreckage of flight KQ 507 has been located in swampland in
The plane, with 114 people aboard, sent out a distress signal
shortly after taking off from Douala in a storm after midnight
Friday (local time), headed for Nairobi.
The wreckage was seen from the air shortly before nightfall
Sunday, 15 miles southeast of Douala, the Cameroon city where the
Boeing 737-800 had taken off shortly after midnight on Saturday,
according to Celestine Ngoue, the General Inspector of Cameroon's
Civil Aviation Authority, reported CNN.
He said rescue teams were trying to reach the site, but may not
be able to do so until first light Monday, as the wreckage was in
an inaccessible area of swamps and forest.
Ngoue said some 200 rescue workers were on standby in Douala.
The NTSB is sending a team to assist Cameroon in its investigation
of the crash.
Ngoue had no information on whether the wreckage was spread over
a wide area but said authorities were certain it was the Kenyan
Relatives waiting at Nairobi's airport were distraught as news
reports about the missing plane came in. Dozens of family members
collapsed and cried in the airport terminal.
The company's chief executive Titus Naikuni spoke at a news
conference in Nairobi.
"Kenya Airways regrets to
confirm that its flight KQ 507 has been located on a mangrove swamp
around 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Douala on the planned
"At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and
we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible
casualties," he said.
"The reason, apparently, that it was not sighted much earlier
was that the aircraft was covered by trees."
A search and rescue team, including Kenya Airways staff, was
still at the accident scene, he said, adding that local fishermen
had helped them locate the wreckage.
The Cameroonian Government says there has been no immediate word
on any survivors.
"For now we cannot say whether there were any survivors or not.
Access to the area is very difficult," Minister of State for
Territorial Administration Hamidou Yaya Marafa said.
"We are beginning a new painful phase. Our task will be more
difficult now, the task of recovering the corpses," he said.
Another Cameroonian official has ruled out the possibility of
"A team of specialists should arrive at the scene tomorrow
(Monday), notably experts to identify bodies through DNA," said the
official, who declined to be named.
"Signs" Found of Jet Downed in Africa
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 05.06.07
0856 EDT: The chief of meteorology for Doula airport, from
where Kenya Flight KQ 507 took off called the state radio report
that the crash site had been located "premature," refusing further
further comment and noting that the search for the plane's wreckage
was continuing, reported The Associated Press and The Washington
However, "signs" of the Kenya-bound flight have been found, an
aviation official said Sunday. Chief of Meteorology Thomas Sobakam
declined to describe the signs, but said they were not pieces of
A spokesman for Keya Airways said Kenyan officials had also
received reports that the plane had been found, but could not
"We have the same information, that the crash site has been
located 180 kilometers (about 100 miles) from Douala," he said. "We
have people on the ground and there appears to be conflicting
A Kenya Airways official added at Saturday's Nairobi news
conference that the plane stopped emitting emergency signals after
an initial distress call, though an automatic device should have
kept up emissions for another two days.
"Why the signal is not being heard right now, we're not quite
sure," said Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni.
An international search includes Kenyan officials and French
helicopters, while the US and Boeing have sent experts.
Sobakam said at least
20 search-and-rescue vehicles left Saturday, spent the night in the
bush, and are now positioned at strategic points inside the
vast forest and searching methodically. The effort includes a team
of Cameroonian firefighters, as well as several teams led by MTN, a
South African cell phone company that had several employees on
board the crashed jet.
Helicopters have resumed combing the tree canopy for signs of
The jet bound for the Kenyan capital went down early Saturday
near Lolodorf, about 90 miles southeast of the coastal city of
Douala, where it had taken off after midnight Friday, said Alex
Bayeck, a regional communications officer. There was no word on
Infrastructure is poor in Cameroon's interior; much of the
search area is only accessible by dirt tracks that turn to
impassable mud in the rainy season. The country of 17 million on
Africa's western coast has oil reserves and lush farmland but many
of its citizens remain poor subsistence farmers.
Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said the plane was equipped with an
emergency transmitter that sends out an automatic locator signal
"in the event of a rapid change in velocity."
Proulx told The Associated Press that the transmitter would have
been activated upon impact and can also be turned on by the plane's
Kenya Airlines CEO Titus Naikuni had said the plane was almost
new. Sunday, he said Kenya Airways had no plans to ground the other
two Boeing 737-800s in its fleet.
"We have checked the history of the aircraft with the
manufacturer ... We don't believe at this particular moment that
there is anything that would force us to stop operating the other
two," Naikuni said.
Naikuni had said the plane took off an hour late because of
rain. Douala airport officials confirmed thunderstorms at the time,
but said that was unlikely to have been the sole cause of the
"There was a thunderstorm, but there were other planes that left
after (the Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi) that had no problems,"
said Sobatam, the Douala meteorology chief.
Kenya Airlines Plane Found
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 05.06.07
0750 EDT: The Kenya Airways plane with 114 aboard reported
missing on Saturday in southern Cameroon had been found, Reuters
The central African country’s state radio interrupted its
programming Sunday morning to report the find; no mention was
made of casualties or the state of the aircraft.
The plane was found near the village of Awanda, near the town of
Mvengue, southwest of the capital Yaounde, the radio said.
Kenya Airways Flight KQ 507, a Boeing 737-800, was bound for
Nairobi and went missing early on Saturday shortly after takeoff
from Douala in Cameroon.
Local officials could not be reached for immediate comment,
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 05.05.07 1620 EDT: Kenya
Airlines revised downwards the number of passengers on board, from
106 according to previous statements, to 105, for a total of 114
aboard when contact with the 737-800 was lost shortly after
takeoff, reported CNN.
Heavy rain and the thick forest have been hampering efforts of
officials to locate the plane. Military and civil aviation
helicopters have been scouring a wide zone in the central African
"We've even sent boys out on motorcycles along main routes in
the region to see whether they can see any trace of the plane
crash," Jean-Francois Nzenang, senior administrative officer for
the region around Kribi. "It's raining, which is impeding the
search, but for now it is still going on... Some of the area is
inaccessible by road and there are no telecommunications signals.
The plane was carrying passengers from more than 20 countries."
Although state radio earlier reported the plane had crashed near
Nieté, north of the border with Equatorial Guinea, after
wreckage had not been found in the area, the search involving
radar-equipped helicopters moved to an area southwest of the
capital -- between the towns of Lolodorf and Ebolowa.
Residents in the area, which has few roads and is dotted by
small villages, reported hearing a "large boom" during the night,
and some said they saw a flash of fire that looked markedly
different from lightning.
Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni has held back on confirming the
crash "until we see the plane -- until then, it's missing," he
The Associated Press said Anthony Mitchell, a Nairobi-based AP
correspondent, was believed to be on the flight. Three Cameroon
referees were also aboard the Kenya Airways plane, a Confederation
of African Football official said Saturday. The officials were on
their way to Kinshasa via Nairobi to officiate at an African
Confederation Cup match on Sunday.
Government spokesman Dr. Alfred
Mutua said the first team of specialists will be leaving the
country for Cameroon Sunday morning.
President Mwai Kibaki has assured the families and friends of
those onboard the flight that his Government is in close touch with
the Government authorities in Cameroon to try and ascertain the
fate of the missing Kenya Airways plane.
1030 EDT: Kenya Airways Flight KQ 507, flying
from Abdijan in Ivory Coast to Nairobi via Douala, in Cameroon,
crashed in southern Cameroon, state radio reported Saturday.
The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 106 passengers, eight crew
members and a flight engineer. According to the airline, the flight
was carrying 79 Africans, 21 Asians, seven Europeans, one US
citizen, and six others. Most of the passengers were connecting
through Nairobi to other destinations outside Kenya, reported
The flight departed Douala, Cameroon at 12:05 am and was to
arrive in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, at 6:15 am. The flight
originated in Ivory Coast but stopped in Cameroon, the airline
said, to pick up more passengers.
"The last message from the aircraft was received at the control
tower (in Doula) immediately after takeoff," said Kenya Airways CEO
Titus Naikuni. "After, the tower lost contact with the aircraft. So
far, no one has been able to establish contact,."
CNN reports a Cameroon radio station stated the plane crashed
near the town of Niete, in the south of the country, while a top
Cameroon government official reported, "We have located the plane
... and we cannot talk about it."
However, Naikuni wouldn't confirm
an Agence France-Presse report the plane had crashed and been
located. Only national civil aviation authorities can release such
information, he said.
The aircraft is six months old, Naikuni said. He did not release
the credentials of the pilot.
The airline opened a crisis management center near the Nairobi
Ten to 15 people were waiting at Nairobi airport arrivals early
Saturday, guarded by several police officers.
"We have been told to sit and wait," said one relative of a
passenger on the plane. "A lot of people are crying, people are
asking what is happening."
Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said the government was
"We are working on modalities to assist in any rescue
operation," he told Agence France-Presse.
In January 2000 a Kenya Airways Airbus A310 crashed into the sea
after taking off from Abidjan airport in Ivory Coast, killing 169
passengers and crew.
Air France-KLM owns a 26 percent stake in Kenya Airways,
Africa's second largest carrier.