Skilled pilot was respected – SANParks

2015-03-09 07:24
Willem Hendrik “Bees” Marais. (@AlettaGardner, Twitter)

Willem Hendrik “Bees” Marais. (@AlettaGardner, Twitter)

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Cape Town - Willem "Bees" Marais, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday while battling a fire at Cape Point, was a respected pilot, the SA National Parks said.

"Bees, as he was affectionately known by friends and family alike, played a vital role in suppressing the fire that has burnt across the Table Mountain National Park during the course of this week," SANParks board chairperson Kuseni Dlamini said in a statement on Sunday.

"His vast knowledge, experience and skill as a helicopter pilot was respected by all."

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

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa sent condolences to pilot Willem "Bees" Marais' family following his death on Sunday.

"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.

Family, friends and Colleagues of Willem Marais are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at


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.

Read more on:    sanparks  |  cape town  |  fires

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