CAA starts probe into plane crash tragedy

2011-08-16 14:08
Johannesburg - Investigations have commenced into the Tzaneen plane crash tragedy in Limpopo, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Tuesday.

Indications so far are that the two Albatross aircraft carrying six and seven passengers respectively, caught fire after crashing into the Mamotswiri peak, CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said.

"Investigators will now begin collecting what is needed from the wreckage on Mamotswiri Peak. That will then be taken to authorities for testing."

The names of the 13 victims, including two children, from two light plane crashes in Limpopo, were released on Tuesday following the discovery of the wreckage site.

"We can confirm that the bodies of 13 people, including two children, were found near the wreckage on Tuesday morning," said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Those on board the first plane, ZU MMI, were pilot Brian Gruar and passengers Marrion Anderson, Maddison and Alexandra Doak, Tess Spence, Louise Warden and Kevin Woolacott.

On board the second plane, ZS NJX, were pilot Peter Gildenhuys, and passengers Stuart and Peter van Oldenburg, Frans Dely, Marietjie de Witt, and Linda Pierce.

Dely was a well-known Johannesburg aviation photographer.

Flew directly into cliff

The planes took off from a landing strip in Tzaneen after an air show on Sunday and were headed to the Rand Airport in Germiston, Gauteng.

Mopani District municipal Mayor Joshua Matlou said the two planes were flying in formation when they crashed in the Lekgalametse mountains northeast of Tzaneen. They were at an elevation of 1 570m.

"They flew directly into the cliff. There was no mid-air collision," he said.

There was no mayday broadcast before the crash and indications were that the occupants of both planes died on impact.

Mulaudzi said the families of the victims were receiving counselling.

Search and Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smit said the crash site was discovered by a police helicopter at 08:15.

Bad weather and low cloud conditions had hampered search and rescue operations on Monday, Smit said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    polokwane  |  search and rescue  |  air crashes
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