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Father-daughter aviation crew narrowly escape death after crash landing

“Lucky to be alive” were the first words that came out of the mouth of Mr John Ordway, who, alongside his daughter Isabella, cheated death after a light aircraft they were flying crash-landed at Mariashoni in Molo, Nakuru County, on Saturday evening.

The aircraft was on an expedition mission. They were unhurt.

“I flew the aircraft from Aqaba in Jordan to Abu Sibel in Egypt and then the father and daughter flight team took over,” Mr Yuval Binur, the owner of the 1941 Boeing Stearman, said on Sunday as he struggled to unfasten vital equipment from the wreckage.

He said air accident investigators would be flying into the country and the scene cleared by Wednesday.

Mr Binur said he was travelling from New York when he was informed that his plane had crashed.

“I was to take over the aircraft from Nairobi to South Africa,” Mr Binur told the Nation. “The other 12 aircraft successfully landed at Wilson Airport in Nairobi and will be proceeding with their flight to South Africa, with stops along the route.”

LUCKY TO BE ALIVE

“We’re lucky to be alive,” said a shaken Mr Ordway at the scene. “I was in the cockpit while my daughter behind me was navigating when the engine suddenly stopped.”

They had interchangeably flown the aircraft as Ms Ordway, 21, worked towards her pilot licence next year.

Mr Ordway said his experience in flying helped him glide the aircraft down to the maize field from 1,000 feet above the ground.

The two were representing Ireland in a vintage air rally across Africa — from the island of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea to Cape Town, South Africa.

The trip aims to recreate the 1931 Imperial Airways “Africa Route” and involves teams from around the world.

They hope to cross 10 countries, flying more than 12,000 kilometres in 35 days with 37 stops, before arriving in Cape Town on December 17.

A couple who were planting potatoes at the scene of the crash, Mr John Ruto and his wife Juliana, said they noticed a plane making what they described as hazardous movements in the air.

FLIPPED OVER

“We noticed a small aircraft flying low silently,” Mr Ruto recalled. “We were shocked as it passed over us.”

He added that the aircraft made a turn as it flew low towards them.

“I dropped my jembe and told my wife to run away,” he said, adding that the aircraft hit a Cypress tree by the fence and flipped over.

“We rushed to the scene cautiously as we feared it might burst into flames,” he told the Nation.

It’s then that they realized a man and a young lady struggling out of the wreck.
“They appeared okay but the man had a small bruise on the hand,” said Mr Ruto.

They immediately called the police who sealed off the scene as neighbours milled around to view the scene.