By Spy Uganda
Kampala: A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) jet ranger helicopter yesterday evening crashed near the old airport in Entebbe, killing Capt Caroline Busingye.
UPDF spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Flavia Byekwaso said in a tweet that the light blue helicopter was being piloted by two cadet trainees on a mutual training flight.
“Today afternoon at about 2:15 pm a jet ranger piloted by two cadet trainees on a mutual training flight came down immediately after takeoff near Lido beach. The two were rushed to the hospital to ascertain their health. Our aviation team is on the ground to investigate the mishap,” Byekwaso tweeted.
Later on, Byekwaso in a message revealed that Capt. Busingye one of the officers on board died shortly after the incident.
“It is with sadness that we announce the passing on of Capt Caroline Busingye after she was involved in a plane crash today afternoon in Entebbe. We Commiserate with the family of the late and the UPDF Air force fraternity during this very difficult moment,” Byekweso said.
Traffic police cordoned off the scene of the accident. Traffic to and from Entebbe airport was also diverted to the one-way road from Entebbe to Kampala.
However, it should be noted that this was a second UPDF helicopter to crash following another one of last week where four UPDF soldiers were severely injured in a crash that occurred in Somalia while on a mission to support ground troops in the Lower Shabelle region.
In the same vein, last year in January, another UPDF helicopter crashed during a training mission in Bulo in Gomba district – killing the pilot, Maj. Naomi Karungi and Benon Wakalo a cadet pilot.
Capt Caroline Busingye becomes the second female UPDF pilot to die in a helicopter crash in just over a year, following Maj Naomi Karungi.
According to pundits, the cause of such plane crash incidents is either poor training or bad wether.
“You can’t blame a pilot for a plane crash because remember every one loves his/her life, no one can intentionally cause an accident while knowing he will die, so such incidents have always happened and the major cause is either poor training or bad wether,” a pundit reasoned.
Details About Maj.Naomi Karungi
Naomi Karungi was a Ugandan helicopter pilot who, at the time of her death, served as the Squadron Commander of Augusta Bell Squadron in the UPDF Air Force.
She was born in Ntungamo District, in the Western Region of Uganda. She attended local primary and secondary schools. She studied at Makerere University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Economics. She was then admitted to the East African Civil Aviation Academy, graduating with a Commercial Pilot Licence, after three years of instruction.
Karungi was scheduled to travel to the United States later in 2020, to train as a helicopter flight instructor.
Around 2002, Naomi joined the UPDF Air Force before she obtained her pilot licence. Upon qualification as a pilot, she was posted to Entebbe Air Force Base. She selected to fly helicopters, as opposed to fixed wing aircraft, according to her video testimony in 2019. She was encouraged to specialize in helicopters by the UPDF Air Force commanders at the time.
She flew transport helicopters in the UPDF Air Force, her entire career of 15 years (2005–2020).In 2015, she piloted President Yoweri Museveni from his country home in Rwakitura to Entebbe.
She was the most experienced female helicopter pilot in the UPDF Air Force at the time of her death. At the rank of Major she was the Commander of the Bell Helicopter Squadron in the UPDF Air Force.
On the morning of 28 January 2020, a UPDF Air Force Bell Jetranger helicopter registration number AF-302, en-route from Kalama Armoured Warfare Training School to Entebbe Air Force Base carrying Major Karungi and Lieutenant Benon Wakalo, a cadet pilot, crashed into Ndese Hill, near Bulo, in Butambala District, during a tropical thunderstorm. Both flight crew died at the scene. They were on their way from Kabamba on a joint training exercise for air defense forces.