By Nigel M. Nassar
MITYANA - The aircraft that made an emergency landing at Kiwawu village in Mityana due to fuel shortage last Thursday cannot leave just yet.
According to Phillip Mukasa, the regional police spokesperson, the aircraft, a passenger plane chartered by the U.S army, needs a runway to take off, which is nonexistent on the scene.
Mukasa, who is in-charge of the joint security detail deployed to safeguard the grounded plane, said Monday July 21, that the pilot had intended to use the road as a runway last Friday after emergency fueling.
“But in the process of fueling the aircraft, consultations with U.S aviation experts did not permit that,” Said Mukasa.
“Instead, the experts asked the pilot to secure the plane and wait until they arrive in the country to assess the state of Mityana Road where it landed, and whether it can be used as an emergency runway.”
Locals and police have pushed the plane out of the road to a secure place by the roadside in order to allow traffic flow. PHOTO/Andrew Masinde
If it is determined that the road cannot work as an emergency runway, said Maj. Haruna Masembe, the in-charge of the UPDF officials deployed at the scene, the aviation experts will consider options like airlifting it or disassembling it and taking it as spare parts to be reassembled back in the U.S.
By press time, the plane was still on the scene, just that the locals and police had pushed it out of the road to a secure place by the roadside in order to allow traffic flow.
A joint team of security operatives from Uganda Police, the UPDF and aviation police have been guarding the plane since Thursday, making today the fifth day of 24-hour sentry duty.
The scene looks like a mini security base of some sort, littered by army tents, police vehicles and a fire truck.
Locals and people from elsewhere who have heard of the plane’s presence in the area continue flocking Kiwawu for a first time encounter with it at close range. It’s just that the security detail standing guard by the plane won’t let them get near it, a thing many are saddened by seeing as some are riding boda-bodas from far and wide.
Last Thursday, the grounded plane left Entebbe airport enroute to South Sudan. But on arrival there, the pilot decided to make a U-turn without landing due to bad weather.
It was during the return journey that the pilot realised that the fuel was not enough to land the plane at Entebbe, thus, the decision to make a tactful emergency landing at Kiwawu, Mityana. Eight U.S military operatives were on board.
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