'There's something wrong'

2009-12-18 22:53

Pretoria - An instructor and a trainee pilot died when their plane crashed in the Apies River and burst into flames on Friday.

The accident in which Loutzavia flight school instructor Herschel McLeod and Francois Erasmus died, is the seventh plane crash since the beginning of December.  Four people have died.

Air control at the Wonderboom Airport heard the men in the plane scream just before it crashed.

"There's something wrong," the men shouted just after take-off, police spokesperson William Mahlaole said.

But the twin engine Beechcraft Baron 55 crashed before they could say what the problem was. 

Bystanders tried to douse the flames, but were unable to do so.

The men died on impact. The front of the plane burnt out completely and their bodies had to be removed from the aircraft by police divers and members of the Tshwane rescue services.

Nico Döman says he saw the plane take off. Then, all of a sudden, the left wing dipped.

The plane crashed into trees before hitting a concrete slab in the river and bursting into flames.

"I saw the explosion. It was huge," said Döman, who is also a trainee pilot.

The Civil Aviation Authority is investigating the accident. 

Samples of the fuel at Wonderboom, from which the flight school operates, were to have been taken for testing on Friday.