Dakota crash in Berg kills all aboard

2012-12-07 00:00

SERGEANT Eric Boes would have turned 40 today.

His colleague, Sergeant Boy Baloyi (30), was married just two weeks ago and his wife is pregnant with their first child.

The two were load masters on board the SAAF C47TP Dakota that crashed near Giants Castle in bad weather on Wednesday.

Baloyi was one of the most experienced load masters in 44 Squadron at Waterkloof airforce base. Friendly and helpful, he was busy training with Sergeant Joseph Mamabolo, also of 44 Squadron, to work on Dakotas.

The Dakotas attached to 35 Squadron at Ysterplaat in the Cape are currently on rotation, flying out of Waterkloof near Pretoria to Mthatha and other destinations.

Pilots say there is simply too much work and too few serviceable planes.

Mamabolo and Baloyi were married to Winnie and Idah, respectively. Mamabolo’s son is three.

Colleagues said they were proud members of the air force.

Captain Zack Smith (28), one of the pilots, was described by colleagues as one of the air force’s safest fliers.

He was married to Mia and they have twins aged one.

Capetonian Major Kurt Misrole, who was also married, was the other pilot.

He joined the squadron at the beginning of the year, having previously worked as a ground training instructor at the central flight school at Langebaanweg in the Cape.

One of his jobs was training new instructors. It was this training that recently, because of the heavy work load, began to be neglected, to pilots’ consternation.

The jovial Boes would have celebrated his birthday today. Instead, his wife and two children will be in mourning. The motto on his Facebook page was: ‘treat others like kings and queens and they will give back quality in whatever they do’.

The fourth 35 Squadron crew member on board was flight engineer Sergeant Jimmy Mofokeng (28).

Members of the squadron were in shock yesterday. Pilots said they were battling to make sense of the crash.

Families were given the terrible news and offered counselling. Some had to be treated for shock.

Also on board were five air force members being taken to Mthatha to guard the Dakota that was sitting at that airport, having been damaged in a recent hard landing.

The guards rotated every two weeks.

They were Sergeant L. Sobantu, Corporal N.W. Khomo, Corporal A. Matlaila, Corporal M.J. Mthombeni and Lance Corporal N.K. Aphane.

Aphane took a colleague’s place on the flight, while a sixth guard missed the flight.

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