Reports from Kigali give a grim overview of the accident late yesterday afternoon, when a CRJ aircraft, leased from Kenya’s Jetlink to Rwandair, rammed into a building at the airport. Sketchy information indicates that at least one passenger died in the incident while many others were injured and taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries.
It is understood that the plane had taken off for a scheduled flight to Entebbe, but returned to Kanombe International Airport shortly afterwards – a flight to Entebbe only takes just over half an hour – over unspecified technical problems. It seems, according to eyewitnesses at the airport, that the plane first came to a parking position on the apron, but then suddenly accelerated again crashing into the airport building.
Both pilots were also injured, and in particular the First Officer appears to have been trapped in the smashed cockpit for a while – no information is available right now over the status of his injuries. Thankfully, the aircraft did not catch fire and the emergency services at the airport and the disaster response team from the leading local hospitals in Kigali responded immediately to the news of the crash.
In a related incident, one of the ambulances rushing the injured to the King Faisal Hospital in Kigali was then also involved in a traffic accident enroute, causing further injuries to those inside and fatalities amongst pedestrians and motorcyclists that were hit.
Air traffic in an out of the airport was halted for a period of time to assess the situation, and a full accident investigation by the Rwandan CAA with support from their Kenyan colleagues and most likely Canadian experts from Bombardier is now underway.