A Kenya Airways plane with 114 people on board has reportedly crashed in southern Cameroon.
The missing aircraft is a six-month old Boeing 737-800.
Cameroon’s state radio is said to have reported that the aircraft, operating flight KQ507 and bound for Nairobi, crashed in the south of the country. This has not been confirmed.
The twin-jet had been operating a service from Abidjan in Ivory Coast via Douala. It departed Douala at 00:05 today (Saturday) with 105 passengers and nine crew, and was scheduled to arrive in the Kenyan capital at 06:15.
Kenya Airways chief Titus Naikuni, speaking to reporters today, said: “A distress signal was picked up on the west coast of Africa and a search and rescue mission by the Cameroonian authorities was initiated at 11:05 this morning, Nairobi time.”
He said that the carrier has not received any official notification from this search party, which had performed an extensive search of the area by low-flying aircraft had found nothing. A second search team was on its way to the site.
But he states that the airline and the Kenyan Government are assembling a team which is to leave for Douala today.
“The last message from the aircraft was received by the control tower in Douala immediately after take-off,” says the airline in a statement.
Kenya Airways has opened a crisis management centre at Embakasi – the site of the Kenyan capital’s airport.
Two years ago the carrier agreed to lease three 737-800s from Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise.
Kenya Airways is affiliated with the SkyTeam alliance and is 26%-owned by Air France-KLM.