No survivors from crashed planes

2011-08-16 11:23

There were no survivors from the wreckage of two aircraft that crashed into a mountain near Tzaneen, Limpopo police said.

“We can confirm that the bodies of 13 people, including two children, were found near the wreckage on Tuesday morning,” said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Those on board the first plane, ZU MMI, were pilot Brian Gruar and passengers Marrion Anderson, Maddison and Alexandra Doak, Tess Spence, Louise Warden and Kevin Woolacott.

On board the second plane, ZS NJX, were pilot Peter Gildenhuys, and passengers Stuart and Peter van Oldenburg, Frans Dely, Marietjie de Witt, and Linda Pierce.

Dely was a well-known Joburg aviation photographer.

The planes took off from a landing strip in Tzaneen after an air show on Sunday and were headed to the Rand Airport in Germiston, Gauteng.

Mopani District municipal mayor Joshua Matlou said the two planes were flying in formation when they crashed in the Lekgalametse mountains northeast of Tzaneen.

They were at an elevation of 1 570m.

“They flew directly into the cliff. There was no mid-air collission,” he said.

There was no mayday broadcast before the crash and indications were that the occupants of both planes died on impact.

Mulaudzi said the families of the victims were receiving counselling.

Search and Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smith said the crash site was discovered by a police helicopter at 8.15am.

Bad weather and low cloud conditions had hampered search and rescue operations yesterday, Smith said.

Mulaudzi said police and the Civil Aviation Authority would now take over with investigations.

“We are working together to protect the scene, and process information,” he said.

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