A WOMAN aged between 25-30 years, whose name was not immediately obtained, died after knocking an aircraft while it was taking off from Mwanza Airport heading for Dar es Salaam, at around 9pm on Wednesday.
Confirming the incident to the ‘Daily News’ yesterday, the Acting Director General of the Tanzania Airport Authority (TAA), Mr Richard Mayongela, said the accident occurred as the woman suddenly invaded the runway from the western side of the airport.
According to Mr Mayongela, the side which the victim used to trespass was not fenced, making it easier for her to approach the runaway only to meet her death as the FastJet aircraft was also gaining momentum, ready to fly.
“We are not in the good picture to ascertainwhat prompted the now deceased to enter the runway, but our experts are still working on the whole matter as we are speaking now,” he said.
The DG, however, said all the precautions that are observed when aircrafts land and take-off, including inspection of all crucial parts of the airport such as runways, were taken accordingly.
He said the unfenced area was open as the government was still in the process of relocating neighbouring residents, who were asked to vacate the area paving the way for the ongoing major expansion of the airport.
Mr Mayongela said the relocation exercise was not taking place because it involves identifying the occupants before they are compensated and finally moving to other safer places.
The incident was also confirmed by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) Mwanza Regional Manager, Mr Aswile Kamendu who said the pilot reported seeing a person on the runway, just as the plane was gearing to take off.
“He reported that he felt like the aircraft had knocked a hard object, but could not stop since the aircraft was stable to proceed as it gained momentum,” he said, adding “We thought the victim was mentally retarded although we could not medically confirm it.”