Limpopo mine bosses killed in plane crash

2013-01-02 00:00

PHALABORWA — Two Limpopo mine bosses were killed yesterday when a light aircraft crashed in Phalaborwa and burst into flames.

The accident occurred the day after Herbert Hanke (60) retired as the general manager for marketing, sales and logistics at Palabora Mining Company (PMC).

Johan Horn (41), a vice president of the Foskor mining company, was at the controls of his own Aeroprakt A-22 Foxbat plane.

Police spokesperson Colonel Ronel Otto said it was suspected the plane experienced mechanical problems.

Shortly after Horn took off from the Phalaborwa airport, the plane appeared to lose power. It crashed about 100 metres away, near a Spar supermarket, caught fire and exploded in a fireball.

Paramedics arrived at the scene within minutes. Both men were already dead, with extensive burns.

Horn, who joined Foskor after studying at Stellenbosch University, worked his way up through the company. He was a flying enthusiast who owned several planes, including a Piper Cherokee. He was well-liked in the town, and had been influential in a scheme under which the mining company helped tar some of the roads in the industrial area.

Hanke had worked for PMC since 1999. He was reportedly planning to move back to his home country, Namibia, following his retirement.

The Civil Aviation Authority will conduct an investigation.

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