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Thu, May 17, 2007

Investigators Say Kenyan Pilot Took Off Despite Weather Warnings

"Too Soon" To Speculate What Contributed To Accident

Ignatius Sama Juma, head of Cameroon's Civil Aviation Authority, said the pilot of Kenya Airways Flight 507 took off despite warnings from the Douala control tower that the weather could turn dangerous.

"Certainly, there was a storm problem," Juma told The Nairobi Nation newspaper. He said an investigation has been launched to determine if human error or a technical fault contributed to the crash, which killed all 115 people on board.

As ANN reported, Kenya Airways Flight KQ 507 was bound for Nairobi and went missing May 5, shortly after takeoff from Douala in Cameroon.

The Boeing 737-800 was carrying 106 passengers, eight crew members and a flight engineer. Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni had said the plane took off an hour late because of rain. Douala airport officials confirmed thunderstorms at the time, but said that was unlikely to have been the sole cause of the accident.

"There was a thunderstorm, but there were other planes that left after (the Kenya Airways flight to Nairobi) that had no problems," said Sobatam, the Douala meteorology chief.

Michael Okwiri, Kenya Airways corporate communications manager, said it was too early for speculation as to the exact cause of the crash.

"We have heard quite a bit of speculative information. We should wait for the investigations into the cause of accident," he said.

FMI: www.kenya-airways.com, www.kcaa.or.ke

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