May 06, 2007

Signs of crashed Kenya Airways plane found

LOLODORF (CAMEROON): Signs have been found of a Kenya-bound flight that crashed in Cameroon with 114 people aboard, an aviation official said on Sunday.

Thomas Sobakam, chief of meteorology for the Douala airport from where the flight took off, refused to describe the signs, but said they were not pieces of wreckage. He said a state radio report the crash site had been located was premature. He refused further comment, stressing that the search for the plane's body continued.

Michael Okwiri, spokesman for Kenya Airways, said officials in Kenya also received reports that the plane had been found but could not confirm them.

"We have the same information, that the crash site has been located 180 kilometres from Douala," he said. "We have people on the ground and there appears to be conflicting information."

Kenyan government spokesman Alfred Mutua said he heard the reports the plane had been found and contacted Cameroonian authorities, but they "refused to verify the reports. They have asked us to give them some time."

The international search for the Kenya Airways plane, which disappeared early on Saturday, has been hampered by heavy rain followed by fog, thick forest and the rugged, remote terrain where it was believed to have crashed.

A Kenya Airways official added at a news conference in Nairobi earlier on Sunday that the plane stopped emitting signals after an initial distress call, though an automatic device should have kept up emissions for another two days.

"Why the signal is not being heard right now, we're not quite sure," said Kenya Airways CEO Titus Naikuni.


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