Major Mugisa says UPDF will renovate the damaged house
Fort Portal, Uganda | URN & XINHUA | A Uganda People’s Defense Force- UPDF helicopter has crashed in Fort Portal in the west of the country. The UPDF confirmed the accident, saying the helicopter tikely suffered a mechanical malfunction.
The MI-24 helicopter crashed just half a kilometer from the airfield into a mud and wattle house near Saaka Airfield at 9 am.
According to an eyewitness, three helicopters had just taken off from Saaka airfield but one of them crashed into the house. The eyewitness says that the occupant of the house who is an elderly woman only identified as Peruce Kabarwani was rushed to hospital.
Major Peter Mugisa, the Mountain Division Spokesperson said that the helicopter which was being manned by two UPDF soldiers was on an operation when it developed a mechanical problem. He says that investigators will inquire into whether human error or environmental factors contributed to the crash.
Peruce Kabarwani, whose house was destroyed, says that she was in her house when she heard a loud bang and when she moved out, she found the helicopter had crashed into a section of her house.
According to Kabarwani, due to fear, her blood pressure rose, and was rushed to a nearby Health facility.
Her daughter Mary Mbabazi, says that this is not the first time helicopters are destroying their property. She says that in December, an army helicopter that was taking off from Saaka Airfield blew off several roofs. She wants the government to help them relocate from the place.
Jeruress Isingoma who lives near the airfield says that when they complain to the authorities, they are told to relocate, yet they have nowhere else to go.
Major Mugisa said that UPDF will renovate the damaged house.
Later, Felix Kulayigye, a military spokesperson, tweeted that the MI-24 helicopter developed a mechanical fault while in flight and the pilot made an emergency landing.
“Fortunately no casualties both to the occupants of the plane and on the ground,” he said.
Kulayigye said a team has been dispatched to the crash site from the air force headquarters to establish the cause of the accident.
This morning our MI 24 helicopter developed a mechanical fault while in flight and the pilot made an emergency landing. Fortunately no casualties both to the occupants of the plane and on the ground.
— Defence Spokesperson (@UPDFspokespersn) September 24, 2022
Last year in February two cadet trainees of the Uganda military were injured when a military helicopter they were traveling in crash-landed soon after take-off at the Entebbe International Airport, 40 km south of Kampala, the capital of Uganda. The February accident occurred just after a week when another Ugandan military helicopter crashed in Somalia, injuring four soldiers on an African Union peacekeeping mission.
In January 2020, the military lost two soldiers in a Jet Ranger which crashed in the central district of Gomba. ■