Zim plane crash: Ownership of cargo remains unclear

2017-01-12 14:00


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Harare - An engine failure caused a private plane carrying gold to crash-land in southern Zimbabwe, injuring two people on Tuesday, officials say, but ownership of the cargo still remains unclear.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) said the Cessna 206 aircraft that crash-landed in the Kennilworth area of Bubi district in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North province was transporting 22kg of gold to the capital Harare. 

CAAZ acting general manager Blessing Ngwarai told the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper that the plane's pilot sent a distress signal after realising that the aircraft had developed a technical fault just after taking off from Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo. 

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed that gold was discovered in the plane and investigations were still under way.

"The aircraft was transporting gold but I don't have the exact value. Our officers are on the ground and a detailed report would be released once investigations are complete," said Charamba. However a CAAZ official yesterday said the gold was worth about $800 000.

Damaged beyond repair 

Charamba could not say who the owner of the gold consignment was, saying details were still sketchy.

Ngwarai said the plane was heading to Charles Prince Airport in Harare but professed ignorance on the aircraft's consignment.

"Air traffic at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport lost contact with the pilot and this triggered a search. The Airforce of Zimbabwe dispatched two aircraft and one helicopter to rescue the pair," said Ngwarai. 

"...We do not inspect cargo. When we respond to such incidents we only look at what happened not the cargo," added Ngwarai.

A private security company was also called to ferry the gold from the accident scene following the crash. 

Aviation Safety Net reported that the aircraft was damaged beyond repair after it force-landed in a field following loss of engine power. The aircraft flipped over and came to rest inverted, injuring both pilots who were the only people in the plane. The pilots were reportedly air-lifted by the army to Harare where they were reportedly receiving treatment at an undisclosed health centre although officials said the injuries were minor.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  aviation  |  plane crashes  |  southern africa

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