'Planes might have flown into mountain'

2011-08-16 10:17
Johannesburg - Two aircraft that went missing near Tzaneen appear to have flown into the mountain on Mamotswiri Peak, Search and Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smit said on Tuesday.

Smit said, however, that this could not be confirmed.

"We don't know if there are any survivors," he said.

"We are still hoisting people down into the area."

Both planes were discovered by a police helicopter, after weather allowed for search and rescue efforts to continue on Tuesday.

The wreckage was found high up on the peak at about 08:00, he said.

"We searched for half an hour, and had an idea from Sunday, as to where the planes were located."

SA Civil Aviation Authority coming in

An air force helicopter was on standby to assist if needed.

He said the SA Civil Aviation Authority would take over as soon as Search and Rescue had accounted for everyone on the aircraft.

Bad weather and low cloud conditions had hampered operations on Monday, Smit said.

Family of those on board had gathered in Tzaneen.

The Albatross planes, with at least 13 people on board, were presumed to have crashed in the George's Valley area, between Polokwane and Tzaneen, on Sunday.

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

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