Minister sends condolences to pilot’s family

2015-03-09 05:22
A firefighting helicopter dumps water on a fire raging in the Tokai Forest near Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

A firefighting helicopter dumps water on a fire raging in the Tokai Forest near Cape Town. (Nardus Engelbrecht, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Sunday sent condolences to pilot Willem "Bees" Marais' family following his death in a helicopter crash in Cape Point.

"I wish to express the government's and my personal condolences to the pilot's wife, Mrs Jackie Marais, family, friends and his colleagues in the Working on Fire programme," Molewa said in a statement.

Marais' helicopter crashed while fighting a blaze at the Cape Point Nature Reserve on Sunday.

At least 500 people had been evacuated since the fire began in Muizenberg.

The fire started last Sunday and was contained, but flared up again just after on Monday in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive. It was fanned by strong winds.

It spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman's Peak, Hout Bay, and Tokai.

One city fire-fighter sustained burn wounds and 52 frail-care residents from a Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

More than 2000 people were helping to quell the fire during the week, the environmental affairs department said at the time.

Molewa said Marais was one of the pilots lauded for the exceptional work over the past week.

More than 2 000 drops by helicopters were made to douse the fire, each with about 1 100 litres of water, she said.

Read more on:    edna molewa  |  cape town  |  fires

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