Microlight pilot tells of lucky escape

2012-02-15 09:15

George - A microlight pilot has told how he and his passenger hit power cables over the Klein Brak River near George and apparently crashed into the water on top of the cables.

“I was still busy explaining that I wanted to fly in such a way that I could see the channel in the river when I heard a tremendous noise from the power cables,” Japie Theron, 44, said from his hospital bed on Tuesday afternoon.

Theron owns the Old Hat Barber Shop in the Garden Route and Mossel Bay shopping centres.


The accident caused a short-circuit at Hartenbos. A technician apparently decided to first have a look at what caused it before restoring the power supply.

“If they had pushed up the trip switch at Hartenbos, both of us would’ve been dead.”

Theron was admitted to Mossel Bay’s provincial hospital with two cracked back vertebrae. He will possibly be transferred to another hospital on Wednesday.

His employee, Sanet Horowitz, 20, from Dana Bay, is being treated for a serious leg fracture and head injuries in the Bayview hospital in Mossel Bay.

The incident happened at about 18:50 in the estuary near the Powertown township, about 30 metres from the bridge over the N2, said Southern Cape police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie.

First flight

Theron told how their fun excursion over The Point at Mossel Bay and Hartenbos suddenly went wrong.

“It was Sanet’s first flight. A guy who was fishing nearby apparently pulled us from the water. After that, a man with a motorboat also came to help. But I don’t remember any of this.”

Theron learnt to fly six years ago and has been a member of the Mossel Bay flight club for the past five years.

"I will fly again as soon as I’ve recovered," he vowed.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the incident, said Hans Potgieter, chairperson of the Mossel Bay flight club.

  • Andrew - 2012-02-15 09:53

    Low flying kills... it's the first thing you learn at ground school

      Keelvol - 2012-02-15 10:07 its not. Its any landing you walk away from is a good landing.

      Johnnie - 2012-02-15 20:40

      Lowflying does not kill. It is the mentality of the pilot that is the cause of the accident.I did lowflying(cropspraying) for 37 years and I am still very much alive.If you want to sleep - do it in bed, not in the aircraft.

  • Foc - 2012-02-15 10:06

    George - A microlight pilot has told how he and his passenger hit power cables over the Klein Brak River near George and apparently crashed into the water on top of the cables?? Am I reading this correctly?? 'the water ON TOP of the cables'?? I think THAT short be the cause of a 'mother of a short' anyway!!

      mbongenia - 2012-02-15 11:21

      they crashed onto the pwr lines which then broke and both landed on the water and were on top on the cables.. but they should have said it in a simpler way

  • fred.kruger2 - 2012-02-15 10:31

    You get old pilots and you get bold pilots, but you never get old bold pilots. Mr. van Heerden, did you skip the lessons on airnav rules?

      RobertKeeling - 2012-02-15 13:40

      Showing off a bit for the sake of the young lady passenger? Whatever - they were very lucky. Hopefully a lesson learnt!

  • johnwilliam.roberts - 2012-02-15 10:49

    i hope you guys make a speedy recovery and dont fly so low again mr theron !!!to fly is heavenly to hover is divine !!!

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