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4 Americans dead in Kenya helicopter crash

By Clyde Hughes
4 Americans dead in Kenya helicopter crash
A Kenya Wildlife Service helicopter flies during a rhino translocation exercise in 2018. Photo by Dai Kurokawa/EPA-EFE

March 4 (UPI) -- A pilot and four American tourists died in a helicopter crash late Sunday in Kenya, officials said.

The helicopter crashed while attempting to depart the Central Island National Park in Lake Turkana, authorities said. Another helicopter had lifted off safely from the location earlier.

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All five people aboard the chopper died, police spokesman Charles Owino said.

"Security personnel dispatched to the scene confirmed that among the five were four Americans and the Kenyan pilot," he added.

Rescue crews early Monday found all five bodies and wreckage from the chopper.

The pilot was identified as Mario Magonga, an experienced flyer and former Kenya Defense Forces pilot. He had been working for KIDL Helicopters based at Wilson Airport in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

The crash is under investigation and has brought renewed questions about air traffic safety. Five people died last month when a light fixed-wing aircraft crashed in a forest near Londiani.

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