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The aircraft involved in the crash in Somalia. (Photo: Alan Wilson – Embraer Emb-120RT Brasilia ‘5Y-AXO’ African Express, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36305632)

African Express Airways Embraer 120 Crashes in Somalia

A Kenyan-registered aircraft belonging to African Express Airways with registration 5Y-AXO crashed as it was approaching the Bardale Airstrip in Somalia on at around 4 p.m. on Monday. The aircraft was reportedly carrying six passengers aboard including two Kenyan pilots, a trainee pilot, a flight engineer and two other airline employees. Both the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and its Somalian counterpart confirmed the incident.

Details of what really transpired are still patchy, but reports suggest that the aircraft was brought down by an unidentified moving object as it was three minutes away from landing. It is also reportedly believed the aircraft, flying at 2,294 feet before being brought down, was operating as a cargo flight transporting medical supplies from Baidoa to Bardale, Somalia to fight the coronavirus crisis.

The aircraft was manufactured by Embraer with serial number 259 and left the production line on July 27, 1983. It was powered by twin-engine/Pratt & Whitney PW118, according to a statement by the Somalian government. The aircraft has been operating in Somalia since March 2.

Both the Somalian and the Kenyan governments have launched an investigation into the crash.

African Express Airways is the largest privately-owned airline in East Africa and was established in 1986. It has its main hub in Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and flies to 13 destinations with Dubai International Airport as a focus city. Its fleet consists of McDonnell Douglas DC-9s, Canadair CRJ-200s and Embraer-120s.

Victor Shalton
Victor Shalton
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