The Skyward Express plane that crash-landed in Mandera on July 21, 2021. PHOTO/COURTESY

I was just relaxing with my siblings in my home village Kibunga, Tharaka Nithi County but since it was on Monday I was planning on how to go back to my operation base in Chuka town after the weekend.

I had left my vehicle in Chuka town, so, I was thinking of calling a bodaboda operator to take me to Mitung’uu (around 25 kilometers) where I could board a mat when I heard the unusual sound of an aircraft and looking at the sky, I saw what looked like a passenger airplane making unusual turns in the sky.

The airplane was followed by a flock bird (the quelea, commonly known as Mirugu in my Kitharaka dialect) which seemed to disrupt the pilot.

The plane was now descending uncontrollably and finally, it crashed on my neighbor’s farm.

“This is a big story and I must be the one to break it,” I said to myself as I rushed into the house to pick my camera.

At that time, some villagers were running towards the crashed plane and unlike me, they were shouting, help- help -help.

My farm borders Turima ACC office which has a police post, so, the police also ran to the scene, and when I arrived the officers had already secured the accident scene with their common ‘crime scene’ ribbon.

The plane had crash-landed and was partly damaged but there seemed no casualties.

However, I was still convinced that it remains a big story after noting that the aircraft was carrying dignitaries- I concluded so because there were some white-uniformed security officers on board and despite being victims of the accident, they were holding the pistols firmly guarding the rest.

Apart from the white security officers, all the other passengers of the ill-fated airplane were lying down (without minding their smart suit) some in great pain suggesting that they had been either injured or seriously shocked.

All that time, I had not sent an alert to the news desk and I was very sure; I wanted to break it in a style.

I had forgotten the job card that would have identified me from a distance but I approached one of the officers and explained to him that I was a journalist working with a mainstream newspaper in the country and that I would like to get information on the accident.

The guy asked me to explain what exact information I wanted and after convincing him, he finally took me to the pilot who was also lying down in distress.

The officer explained to the pilot who I was and what I wanted but he declined to talk to me and asked his co-pilot, a lady lying next to him, to respond (this was also okay with me).

The lady asked the officer which language to use and I quickly said English.

Unexpectedly, the lady asked me, are you a Christian or a Muslim! I said I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, and lo! My daily 6 am alarm was crying, you mean it’s a dream! Such a big story can’t just die!

The dreamer is Alex Njeru, a journalist working with Nation Media Group in Tharaka Nithi County


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