There was a scare on Friday afternoon after a Fly Safarilink commercial aircraft hit wildebeests while landing at the Kichwa Tembo Airstrip, Maasai Mara reserve. The Dash 8 aircraft registered as 5Y-SLM was involved in the incident after the wildebeests ran across the runway as the aircraft landed at the 1 pm mishap, according to the company.
“We are thankful to confirm all passengers and crew on board the aircraft are safe and there are no injuries or fatalities,” read the statement.
Although there is no airport in the Mara, there are several landing strips within its ecosystem where commercial planes drop and pick passengers before returning to Nairobi.
Safarilink flies from Wilson to various landing strips such as Keekorok, Mara North, Musiara, Serena, Angama, Olkiombo and Kichwa Tembo.
During peak seasons like now, the wildebeest are wondering all over the reserve, grazing in large numbers near the strips.
The wildebeests are the main attraction for both local and international tourists who flock the reserve in hundreds of tour vans.
The management further said the aircraft is disabled and have dispatched another aircraft to take engineers, and company staff to the site to further assess the situation.
At the time of landing, some 10 vehicles were parked at the airstrip at the Mara triangle with drivers and tour guide to pick passengers to different lodges and tented camps.
For the last 2 months business has been booming at the Maasai Mara, to the point of overwhelming camp lodges, with most tour companies overwhelmed, forcing many visitors to travel by air.