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Wednesday,December 19,2018 07:39 AM

ENTEBBE MOURNS PLANE CRASH VICTIMS

By Vision Reporter

Added 7th July 2002 03:00 AM

THE Entebbe mayoral gardens yesterday turned into a sea of grief as hundreds of mourners paid tribute to four aviation experts who died in a plane crash in Bangui in the Central African Republic last week.

By Vision Reporters THE Entebbe mayoral gardens yesterday turned into a sea of grief as hundreds of mourners paid tribute to four aviation experts who died in a plane crash in Bangui in the Central African Republic last week. Captain Charles Haguma, pilot of the ill-fated aircraft, his co-pilot, Capt. Rugatsyana Migisha, first officer, Fred Kiirya and flight engineer, James Wakikoona Wasika, lay still in their coffins as astounded mourners looked in silence. The four were part of the crew who died when the Rwandan registered Boeing 707 cargo plane came down near Bangui on Thursday. Also killed in the crash were 20 Chadian traders and the aircraft owner, Steve Shyaka, a Kigali businessman. A flight engineer, Laurent Toubako of the Congo Republic and a female passenger survived the crash. Toubako said the pilot had become aware of the fault as they overflew the Central African Republic (CAR) en route from the Chad capital Ndjamena to Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. “It was then he attempted a forced landing, so what had to happen happened,” Toubako told journalists in Bangui. Toubako’s account of what happened corroborated early information by the African Agency for Air Navigation Safety (ASECNA) which said the pilot had asked for permission to reroute to Bangui due to technical problems during the morning. The plane crashed as he tried to make an emergency landing, according to the ASECNA and Bangui airport staff. The Congo republic President, Ange-Felix Patasse, paid tribute to the pilot for struggling to avoid a market in a built up area of the city, near the crash site. The four Ugandans were experienced pilots who previously worked for a number of airliners, including the East African Airways, DAS Aircargo and the defunct Uganda Airlines for years before joining Prestige Airlines that owned the ill-fated plane. The Entebbe mayor, Stephen Kabuye, who organised the funeral service, declared one week of mourning, beginning today. He refered to the deceased as senior residents of Entebbe. The municipality flag, he said, will fly at half-mast. Manjiya county MP, David Wakikoona who is Wasika’s elder brother demanded that Uganda takes keen interest in the circumstances under which the plane crashed. “I am requesting that government writes to Bangui and Kigali about circumstances that led to the deaths. It is our desire that we get to know what exactly happened,” Wakikoona said amid sobs. The communications state minister, Michael Werikhe, who was among the mourners, said, “government will do everything it takes within the international legal framework to know exactly what happened.” Wasika is the second aeronautic expert in the Wakikoona family to die in a plane crash. His other brother, Enos Luwuzu, a pilot, died in another crash that killed a senior UPDF officer, Col. Jet Mwebaze. Ends

ENTEBBE MOURNS PLANE CRASH VICTIMS

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