Paramedic's body not released to family after three weeks

2015-09-07 20:11
Debris after the Cessna 441 Conquest V5-NRS plane crashed in the Plattekloof area. (File, EMS)

Debris after the Cessna 441 Conquest V5-NRS plane crashed in the Plattekloof area. (File, EMS)

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Johannesburg – The family of a Namibian paramedic has not received his body from South African authorities three weeks after he was killed in a plane crash in Cape Town.

To add to their distress, they have not been given a death certificate. His two phones were still ringing, despite the family being told they were destroyed in the crash, and someone has been active on his Facebook account and Skype profiles.

Alfred Ward, 24, was one of four people killed when an E-Med Rescue 24 plane crashed on the Maastricht Wine Farm in Durbanville on Sunday, August 16.

"Sunday when he passed away, I tried phoning him and it was off. Someone charged it and it was ringing yesterday [Sunday]," his girlfriend Tarryn Klaaste said.

"We don’t even have a death certificate. We can’t close his account. Everything is just standing. Our hands are cut off."

On Monday, Ward’s father Terence received an e-mail from Captain Marius Joubert of the Western Cape’s forensic science laboratory, apologising for the delay.

Joubert told him the DNA test results would be available this week; the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had appointed a new investigator to the case and they would receive an update on Tuesday.

"I want my son’s body back so we can bury him. We can’t move on. My wife went back to work, but we are struggling. This thing is hanging over us. We can’t plan."

He questioned why the body had not been released, saying his son had no bearing on the investigation, especially since he had not been flying the plane.

Last week, authorities had tried questioning him about his son’s mental stability, the implication being he may have had something to do with the crash.

"Are they sick?" Ward said. 

He said his son’s Skype status until recently was "out of town". On Monday it had been changed to "not available". They had no idea who was using his phone.

The lack of a death certificate meant they had not been able to close his accounts, which were going into arrears. Ward said he had to make his son’s car payment to stop it from being repossessed.

Ward, Gabriel Le Roux, 80, his daughter Charmaine Koortzen, 49, and pilots Steven Naude, 53, and Amore Espag, 23, were killed in the crash. The plane was en route from Oranjemund in Namibia to take Le Roux to a Cape Town hospital after he sustained a head injury in a fall.

IOL reported the plane had been instructed to fly in a holding pattern due to a radar problem. It quoted Air Traffic and Navigation Services saying there had been a "minor technical glitch" which affected departures and arrivals.

CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu could not be reached for comment.

Read more on:    namibia  |  cape town  |  air crashes

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