Pilot was in previous Durbanair crash

2009-09-25 00:00

YESTERDAY’S crash of an Airlink Jetstream in Durban was the second time in four years the plane’s captain has been injured while making an emergency landing.

In August 2005, Allister Freeman was flying five passengers in a Britten-Norman Islander plane. As he came in to land at Durban’s Virginia airport, the plane developed engine problems — just like yesterday.

In that accident, Freeman had to ditch the plane on a house in Umhlanga when no one was home.

At the time, his wife, Thabitha, said she couldn’t believe he and the passengers made it out alive. He was taken to St Augustine’s Hospital, where he was admitted yesterday.

Before that crash, Freeman alerted the airport control tower that he was having engine problems, and then crashed into the house, which collapsed on the plane wreck, and Freeman was trapped, as he was yesterday.

Last night, SA Airlink said Freeman was in a serious condition in hospital, breathing with the aid of a ventilator. He suffered numerous broken bones in his face, a broken ankle and broken ribs, which perforated a lung.

Co-pilot Sonja Bierman broke both ankles and a hand and suffered chest injuries.

Cabin attendant Rodelle Oosthuizen suffered a broken back and serious facial injuries.

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