Africa

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Four killed when plane carrying stimulant khat crashes in Kenya

Published 02/07/2014|11:50

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Soldiers and airport staff members look at the wreckage of the Fokker 50 cargo plane after it crashed shortly after takeoff at Kenyatta International Airport, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Cargo Four people were killed when their cargo plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Nairobi, a police official said Wednesday. The plane transporting the mild stimulant known as Khat to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, crashed into a commercial building after taking off from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport early Wednesday, said Joseph Ngisa, the airport's head of police investigations. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Soldiers and airport staff members look at the wreckage of the Fokker 50 cargo plane after it crashed shortly after takeoff at Kenyatta International Airport. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

Four crewmen were killed today when a plane carrying the stimulant khat crashed into a commercial building in the Kenyan capital Nairobi shortly after taking off, police said.

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Television footage showed a charred tail and wings of the white Fokker 50 propeller plane ripped in half outside the smouldering two-storey building housing several shops.

While two guards at the building were injured, the fact that the crash happened around 4am meant a worse toll was avoided.

The Somalia-bound cargo plane was carrying khat, the leafy plant chewed as a stimulant in east Africa but banned in many countries across the globe.

Khat is big business in Kenya with vast plantations dotted around the country's central regions.

It is grown and sold legally in much of eastern Africa where chewing the plant is an ancient social custom.

Benson Kibui, Nairobi county police commander, said the plane's pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and a loader were killed in crash.

Reuters

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