Pilot a College Old Boy

2014-09-25 00:00

THE pilot who died in the Underberg chopper crash on Monday was a former Maritzburg College pupil, Blake Simson.

Simson was flying with Hendrik Olivier (46) from Stellenbosch to conduct an alien plants survey in the area, when the helicopter crashed in the mountains near a Mondi forest.

The cause of the accident is still being investigated.

Some documents, a cellphone, tablet navigator, bank and medical aid cards were found a few metres away from the scene.

Simson matriculated in 2009 and went to Port Elizabeth to train for his commercial pilot’s licence.

He pursued a career as a helicopter pilot and was based at the Cathedral Peak Hotel in Winterton.

His former employer, Brett Tungay, owner of Westline Aviations, described Simson as a “conscientious employee”.

Tungay said since Simson joined Westline Aviations, he had never been involved in any accident.

“He was a good employee. He resigned in July and went to work as a pilot in Bloemfontein,” Tungay said. “We were very sad when he left us.”

Olivier’s medical aid card indicates three dependents, who are believed to be his wife Miriam and two sons, Anton (3) and Emil, who is 11 months.

Berg Protection Services’ advanced life support paramedic Richard Champkins said the wreck was in an inaccessible area. “By the time we got there, two people were trying to put out the fire. Some parts of the chopper were scattered over a huge area. Both bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

“When we received the call, we thought they might have cut the Eskom line, but when we arrived it looked as if they saw the line too late and in trying to avoid hitting it, lost control,” Champkins speculated.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated. “On Monday the pilot and passenger were flying their small aircraft around Underberg area. They lost control of the plane and crashed in the mountains near Mondi forest. They died when the plane caught fire,” said Zwane.

A post on the Maritzburg College Old Boys Association (MCOBA) Facebook page read: “It is with sadness that we report the death of Blake Simson (2009). Sincere condolences go to the Simson family. May the heartfelt thoughts of friends who understand your sorrow be a source of strength and comfort.”

Attempts to get hold of his family and the Department of Transport for comment were unsuccessful.

• mlondi.radebe@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.