'Crashed chopper' was a meteorite

2012-09-29 19:00

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Cape Town - A search for a helicopter which witnesses claim to have seen crashing at Blouberg was terminated after it emerged that a meteorite had fallen at the same time.

According to the Weekend Argus, "quite a few people" reported seeing a small aircraft crash into the sea at about 20:30 on Friday night.  Witnesses described seeing a light aircraft fly across the beach, lose control and descend, as well as seeing flames.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said on Saturday that it received reports of a helicopter crash at 20:34. A witness had described seeing what appeared to be a helicopter, with strobe lights flashing, go into a spiral and then fall from the sky and crash.

NSRI Table Bay duty coxswain Pat van Eyssen said rescue craft were on the water at the time dealing with another call involving a tug boat, but diverted in order to search for the crashed aircraft. The NSRI Melkbosstrand was also activated and launched sea rescue craft.

"A sea search by NSRI revealed no sign of any helicopter crash and there was nothing in the area to suggest that a helicopter had crashed."

However, it then emerged that an Airlink pilot had reported seeing what he believed to be a meteorite fall across the western part of the Western Cape. The pilot was flying from Durban to Cape Town.

"Cape Town International Airport then also reported other eyewitnesses claiming that they too had seen what they believed to be a meteorite fall across the West Coast skyline during the same time line," Van Eyssen said.

"No further action was required and although it is assumed that what was seen was a meteorite fall, the situation continued to be monitored throughout the night and there remain no reports of any helicopter overdue or missing."
 

Read more on:    nsri  |  cape town  |  search and rescue
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