Ugandan, US divers recover plane wreckage

By Vision Reporter

A COMBINED team of Ugandan and US divers on Wednesday found the tail of the sunken Ilyushin plane that plunged into Lake Victoria early this month, killing 11 people on board.

By Steven Candia
A COMBINED team of Ugandan and US divers on Wednesday found the tail of the sunken Ilyushin plane that plunged into Lake Victoria early this month, killing 11 people on board.

The plane carrying equipment for the African Peace Mission in Somalia, burst into flames and crashed into the lake moments after takeoff.

The wreckage raises hope that the over two-week long rescue-turned salvage operation could come to an end.

The airforce spokesman, Capt. Tabaro Kiconco, yesterday said: “We are sure that tangible results could come by the end of the day. I am sure they will recover the black box. ”

The US Mission in Kampala, in a statement issued yesterday, said the 27-man team was working with the UPDF and the Civil Aviation Authority in the recovery mission.

“The wreckage is believed to have sank 24-26 metres deep,” Lt. Col. Gregory Joachim, a defence attache at the US Embassy, said.

The Government had requested the US for specialised assistance in the recovery mission.

The Americans have been tasked to retrieve the remains of the dead, recover the black box and advise the investigation team based at the Civil Aviation Authority offices in Entebbe. “US service members are in the Horn of Africa to build relationships with partner nations,” Anthony Kurta, a US commander, said.

“We have deployed a team to support Ugandans in the operations. We work beside Ugandan military forces on a regular basis as part of our efforts to strengthen their own security capacity,” he added.

Two Russians; a captain and the co-pilot, two Ukrainians, three senior Burundian army officers, two Ugandans, a South African and an Indian died in the March 9 incident.

The remains of the Ugandans, Burundians and Ukrainians have been buried.

Meanwhile, an Indian family in Rajasthan state, has identified one of the victims as 35-year-old Anil Wadhwani, an employee of US Dyncorp, a US-based private military contractor, with operations in Somalia.

Another Indian, Rajkumar Wadhwani, of Mansarovar Jaipur, the capital of the Rajasthan state, has sent an Internet appeal, seeking information about the whereabouts of his brother, Anil Wadhani.

“My brother, Anil Wadhwani, is working with Dyncorp International and was posted to Somalia. He was travelling in the Ugandan plane to Somalia, which crashed and sunk in Lake Victoria. We have no information after 15 days. Pease help us search for him,” Wadhwani wrote.

Ugandan authorities said that there were no survivors.

Ugandan, US divers recover plane wreckage