Four Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) airmen are feared to have died after a Kenya Air Force aircraft crashed in Voi, Taita Taveta County on Tuesday morning. 

KDF, through Twitter, said the plane model Harbin Y-12 was headed for Moi Air Base in Eastleigh, Nairobi when it came tumbling down.

"Recovery efforts are underway," KDF tweeted. 

The force did not, however, divulge much detail even as witnesses on the ground said they reportedly witnessed four bodies being recovered from the crash scene.

Reports early Tuesday had indicated that the KDF officers were heading to Voi in the ill-fated aircraft to pick up a KDF boss before it crashed.  

The plane is reported to have crashed at Mrima Hill inside Tsavo East National Park, with KDF, Police and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officers leading the rescue efforts on the ground. 

The cause of the aircraft crash is being investigated. 

Tuesday’s accident is the fourth involving the Chinese-made Harbin Y-12 aircraft model since 2006 raising questions about its safety record. 

In 2006, a plane of the same model crashed in Marsabit killing 14 people, in 2014, one person died after a similar plane crashed shortly after takeoff from El Wak Airport in Mandera County. 

And in August 2020, a similar airplane crashed at Dhobley Airstrip in Somalia although its 10 occupants managed to escape unhurt.