Bleak week for SA military: Union

2013-03-31 22:39
SANDF Kruger helicopter crash

SANDF Kruger helicopter crash

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Johannesburg - The death this weekend of five soldiers in a helicopter crash at the Kruger Park, closes a difficult week for the country's military, the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) said on Sunday.

Sandu national secretary Pikkie Greef said in a statement: "These deaths represent one of the blackest weeks in SA military history.

"On Saturday night, a helicopter conducting a scheduled aerial patrol of the Kruger National Park - as part of an anti-rhino poaching operation - crashed, killing five SA National Defence Force members on board.

Greef said military personnel were putting their own lives in danger in order to help with wildlife conservation.

"SA soldiers are at the forefront of fighting the scourge of rhino poaching in our country."

He said an inquiry must be conducted into the accident.

President Jacob Zuma said such an investigation must "shed light on the circumstances of the crash".

Zuma said in a statement earlier that the whole country was "saddened" by the loss and he extended his condolences to the families of the five soldiers who died.

The bodies of 13 SANDF soldiers killed during a battle with rebels in Bangui in the Central African Republic were brought back home a few days ago.

A total of 27 other wounded troops are recovering at Pretoria's military hospital.

Read more on:    sandu  |  sandf  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  air crashes

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