One ’ell of a lesson: learner driver smashes three aircraft … in reverse

2012-12-13 00:00

GEORGE — A lesson in reverse parking in Oudtshoorn became a horror smash that took out three aircraft in the Klein Karoo town late on Tuesday.

Residents in the small town were all agog yesterday over the “lady driver incident” that happened at about 4 pm during a parking lesson for a woman in a white VW Polo.

The crash happened in Oudts­hoorn Municipality’s driver training area, which is located inside the airport precincts.

The learner driver was busy learning how to reverse-park when she presumably stamped on the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal and — panicking — continued to accelerate in reverse right through the corrugated steel sheeting lining the walls of an airplane hangar.

No one — not even the learner driver in her tough little Polo — was injured in the crash.

Three planes were badly damaged. An instructor at a driving school operating in the area witnessed the crash.

Willem Marais, managing director of the Avic International Flight Training Academy at Oudtshoorn, yesterday confirmed the crash to sister paper Die Burger.

An investigation has been launched and the damages are estimated at between R3 million and R4 million. Marais said one of the aircraft belongs to a company, one is privately owned and the third is owned by the Oudtshoorn Aero Club.

The woman was treated for shock at the scene.

Ntobeko Mangqwengqwe, a spokesperson for the Oudtshoorn Municipality, said the municipal manager had already asked for a report on the incident from the director of community safety.

Captain Malcolm Pojie, a spokesperson for the South Cape police, said a case of reckless and negligent driving was being investigated.

At this stage it is not clear whether the learner driver will be held liable for the damage she caused.

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