Volunteers fund search for missing plane

2012-11-12 14:41
(Picture: Joshua Househam)

(Picture: Joshua Househam)

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Johannesburg - The aviation community has come together to provide funding and time to help search for the two South African men whose plane went missing in Mozambique more than two weeks ago.

Bryan Simms, 60, of Midrand, and his son, Rob, 22, were last heard of on 27 October 2012, when their light aircraft went missing in Mozambique.

They were travelling from Malawi to Lanseria airport, north of Johannesburg.

Shortly before the plane went missing, Simms senior said in a radio message that he had problems with one of the engines. They were last heard from when the plane was flying near Beira, in Mozambique.

Compelled

Richard Maier, a pilot who currently heads up the search, told News24 on Monday he doesn’t know the missing men, but felt compelled to keep on searching when aviation authorities called off the search.

"If I got lost like that...I would have wanted people to keep on looking for me."

Maier’s father-in-law went missing in a similar situation a few years ago.

Members of the aviation community have spent around R200 000 from their own pockets to fund the search, with donations helping fill the gaps.

Maier is offering a $5 000 (R43 500) reward to anyone who can lead the team to the crash site.

Remote

The search area is reportedly very remote. "Extremely hot temperatures, low level turbulence, high bird activity and strong crosswinds have made for some challenging conditions," Joshua Househam, who is part of the search party, told News24.

"The area is also full of burnt trees and charcoal patches which are making the actual visual search incredibly tough."

The rescue team is currently based in Chimoio, Mozambique, where at least five different aircrafts are continuously looking for the men. Volunteers on motorbikes and on foot are also combing the area.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  southern africa  |  search and rescue  |  aviation
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