2 U.S. filmmakers injured in Kenyan plane crash

People gather around the wreckage of a plane that struck a building in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Saturday.
Two U.S. filmmakers were injured Saturday when their small plane crashed into a three-story residential building in downtown Nairobi on Saturday.

Dan Parris, 25, and Rob Lehr, 26, both from St. Louis, Missouri, were shooting an independent documentary on poverty in Africa. Both men were hospitalized and expected to survive, according to David Peterka, who was part of the film crew, but was not aboard the plane. A flight engineer, whose name was not released, was critically injured and was in a coma, Peterka said. The pilot, whose name has not yet been released, was killed in the crash. The crew had been in the east African nation for four days and was shooting video of Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa. The plane was headed to nearby Wilson Airport, where most light aircraft land in the Kenyan capital. “The pilot had warned that he was going to hover and go slow,” Peterka said. “They were surprised when they went to about 50 feet off the ground — and then they hit electrical lines and the plane flipped into the building.” Just before the plane crashed, the listening devices went off and they could not communicate with the pilot, Peterka said. Peterka said Lehr, who was ejected because the doors were open for filming, ran back in to rescue the others. Parris crawled out and Lehr, with the help of bystanders, pulled the pilot and the engineer out as the plane burst into flames, Peterka said. “Local residents were using water, dirt to put the fire out” before the fire department arrived, Peterka said. The four onboard the plane were all Americans, said Francis Mwaka, a Kenyan federal communications official. “Before the plane crashed, witnesses said it was flying unusually low,” Mwaka said. The plane was owned by African Inland Missions company. No one on the ground was injured, Mwaka said. The crash is under investigation.