'It was an emergency landing, they were running out of fuel'
'They got diverted to the wrong airport'
'The pilot got the wrong airstrip, he was meant to land at Kilimanjaro but turned the wrong way'
'There was a broken down plane at Kilimanjaro, he had to land here'
'I spoke to so-and-so who was on the plane...'
'I heard the comms between the pilot and the tower and....'
etc etc etc. Everyone a different story, everyone the expert.
The long and the short of it is that I was driving past the little airport on my way home the other day and saw this. No double take necessary. BAM, there she was! She stood out like a steak at a vegan party.
(This pic courtesy of umm, I forget - off the internet. Thanks and hope you don't mind whoever you are!)
This little airport usually services very light very small aircraft for tourists going to the Ngorongoro Crater or the Serengeti or Zanzibar. Planes like this
As I drove up the hill to our house I could still see it....
I believe what happened was that there was indeed a broken down plane on the runway at Kili. The pilot (of the big plane) was told to circle in the holding area and when he was told that it was clear to land he went the wrong way, and landed here instead of Kili.... I guess a full investigation will take place as to what actually happened.
Aaaanyway, the CROWDS of people for the next few days was unbelievable! It is usually a very quiet little road, gently ambling past the mountain but for the two days that the plane was on the ground was like Glastonbury or something. Without the rain.
The 200 plus passengers were stuck on the aircraft for 3 hours or so since there was no stairs big enough to get the off! Eventually they used the emergency slide I believe.
There was much speculation as to how the plane was actually going to take off since the runway is way to short for a plane of that size. Rumour was they were going to take off at 6 in the morning. So I went over to the neighbour's house at dawn to watch.
There's kili. See the plane bottom left?
In the end she didn't take off until noon, so I missed it as I had to be in town (I HATE missing out on this sort of thing!) There were more than 1000 people watching apparently and lots of friends videoed it so I didn't feel toooo left out!