air crash in Kigali
From the excellent reporting team at Uganda Talks:
There are reports coming in that a JetLink flight has crashed at the Kigali Airport shortly after takeoff. The plane was bound for Nairobi. The plane reported mechanical problems shortly after takeoff, turned around and crash landed, hitting the VIP lounge causing damage both to the lounge and the plane.I've taken that flight. More than once. If you're not an aid worker (which means you can't fly with the Red Cross or the humanitarian airlines) and can't fly MONUC because of an inflexible, heartless bureaucrat who refuses to give scholars MOP's even though MONUC in Kinshasa says it's FINE, RwandAir Express is one of the only ways to get to Entebbe from the region. (The alternative is TMK's commercial service, which puddle jumps through a series of radar-lacking airports in foggy mountains and valleys up the eastern edge of the DRC.)
Unknown number of casualties. Ambulances are on site.
The plane was a 50-seater Canadian jet, model 100crj, leased by JetLink to Rwanda Air. After some conflicting reports we have verified that the plane was heading for Entebbe.
According to Ephraim Kamonjo, a representative from Jetlink, the plane crashed, nose-first, into the pavilion of the VIP lounge, while taxiing to the runway.
The pilot and co-pilot, and some people in the VIP lounge have been reportedly injured.
RwandAir Express always provided excellent service when I flew with them. Their staff are courteous and super-professional, and, unlike the vast majority of flights in the region, they generally depart and arrive on time. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by this situation.
UPDATE: Uganda's New Vision has a detailed story on the crash. I'm sure there will be more information come morning in central Africa.