Agusta fleet grounded as another chopper crash-lands

2010-12-16 00:00

THE fleet of 27 Agusta helicopters of the South African Air Force has been temporarily grounded after a new aircraft made an emergency landing at Ballito yesterday.

Three people were hurt, but the extent of the injuries was not known last night.

The helicopters have been temporarily withdrawn as it is suspected the accident was caused by a problem with the tail rotor.

Experts said the fact that the chopper, stationed at 15 Squadron in Durban, spun wildly indicated such a problem, and that the competence of the pilot probably averted a worse accident.

This is the second incident in three weeks in which one of these helicopters, bought as part of the controversial arms deal, has been damaged. In the previous incident at Potchefstroom, the pilot landed hard, damaging the chassis.

Three crew members were killed in May last year when an Agusta helicopter came down in the Woodstock dam in KwaZulu-Natal.

Yesterday’s accident happened at about 11.30 am while the defence force was helping police with a holiday crime-fighting project.

A Business Against Crime member, the pilot and co-pilot were injured. Also on board was Lieutenant-Colonel J.J. Geldenhuys of 15 Squadron. He was not injured.

Eyewitness Johan Prinsloo said the helicopter circled twice before the engine stopped at tree height, with the helicopter spinning and falling in the veld.

Prinsloo, who works for a windscreen company at the Laguna Seca industrial park, was standing outside when the accident happened.

The accident scene is near the Caledon residential complex that includes a boutique hotel and spa. It is ringed by trees and powerlines.

The Agusta helicopters were scheduled to form part of a military parade honouring past and present defence force members, to be reviewed by President Jacob Zuma today.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.