Six people including the pilot perished Monday after their aircraft carrying COVID-19 health and aid supplies came down in what multiple sources said was a result of ground to air shooting in Somalia’s southwest region.
The Captain of the plane, Hassan Musa Bulhan, along with his co-pilot Mabruk Islam were operating the ill-fated African Express aircraft as it was reportedly shot down at around 3:30 pm local time shortly before landing at Berdale, according to witnesses.
Capt. Hassan Musa Bulhan is the son of the African Express founder and CEO Muse Bulhan.
The flight was heading to Berdale from Baidoa in South West State.
Ground engineer Charles C Nganga and trainee pilot Omar Abdulle Jamal were among the dead along with two other passengers who were employed by African Express.
Five bodies have been recovered so far according to the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Mohamed A Salad Oomaar.
Hiiraan Online spoke with the Transport Minister as he was on his way to Bardale airport with investigators to recover the Black Box which can reveal critical information on the last moments before the crash. He also plans to repatriate the bodies of the crash victims.
“The government is conducting an independent investigation to find out exactly what happened and will our findings public.”
Salad said that since African Express is a Kenyan-registered company, investigators from Kenya will be involved in the investigation, adding that he welcomes international assistance.
Ethiopian troops staff Berdale Airport, and the surrounding areas are under AMISOM control. Al-Shabaab has been able to exercise effective control over large areas of south and central Somalia, including the Bay region.