I have heard Captain Barbara Wangeci’s struggles from a fellow pilot, and it saddens me that she was failed by Air control.

Weather and mechanical faults to the plane are excuses for to have insurance claims processed. I am informed she was a 4 star pilot, duly qualified for promotion.

Air control cleared the plane for late take off in Kitale without looking at how Wilson, and possibly JKIA plane schedule that evening. By the time air control figured it was impossible to land in Wilson, they directed Barbara to land in JKIA from the east wings. East wings had departing planes and they further directed her to land from North wings of JKIA.

She was directed to a route she has not used before, above the Aberdares and she had a bitter exchange with Wilson Air control on the same. But she was convinced, she would be guided all through.

Unfortunately, Wilson control signal is weak on Aberdares where JKIA signal is stronger. Its a route mostly used by bigger planes which fly at higher altitudes. Wilson air control took longer to hand over the plane path and details to JKIA. Barbara lost signal. She was now flying blind without the guidance she was promised.

She couldn’t fly a higher altitude because Emirates and Etihad were above and she didn’t know where she was. It is the responsibility of air control to tell you where the hills are, where to turn to and when to fly high or low.

By the time she figured the hill on her own, she made a quick turn to avoid a collision and was about successful when the left wing hit the hill. I am informed, the plane did not burn down because in that confusion, Barbara even spilled fuel off the plane as she went down.

Otherwise, we would have found ashes. By the time Wilson air control handed over the plane details to JKIA to guide Barbara out of the aberdares, JKIA could not see the plane on radar. It was down. That lady knew her stuff but was failed by Wilson air control personnel.

She was too young to die, and just too beautiful to be failed by her colleagues.

But there is honour in dying when you doing what you love. A teacher should die with the chalk, a doctor with his stethoscope, a pilot on plane and captain on his ship


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