Investigation into chopper crash begins

2015-04-10 16:31
(Supplied, Frans Haasbroek)

(Supplied, Frans Haasbroek)

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Durban - An investigation into the helicopter crash in Zambia which left a South African pilot dead has begun.

The helicopter, which was owned by aerial surveying company Geotech Aviation South Africa, crashed East of Mazabuka in Zambia on Thursday.

Police pilot Mike O’Donnell was killed.

Geotech SA CEO Craig Siepman confirmed that the six-seater helicopter had been completely destroyed in the crash.

“The helicopter with registration number ZS-HTS belonging to Geotech Aviation South Africa returning to the South African base from Zamibia with one person on board crashed on route to Livingstone,” he said.

The craft had crashed on a farm and burst into flames.

“This resulted in complete loss of the aircraft and the death of the South African pilot. The Zambian Department of Civil Aviation is investigating the accident in conjunction with the SA Civil Aviation Authority,” he said.

“Geotech Aviation wishes to express condolences and prayers for the victim’s family and friends,” Siepman added.

He did not elaborate on the cause of the accident, and said further details would be made available at a later stage.  

Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said that their Zambian counterparts had authority over the crash site, but could request assistance if it was needed.

O’Donnell’s friends and colleagues gathered at the police Air Wing base in Durban on Friday to pay tribute to the fallen airman. 

Read more on:    zambia  |  air crashes  |  southern africa

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