SA pilots die as ‘Batman’ aircraft crashes

2013-07-03 00:00

TWO South African pilots died when their aircraft, which featured in the latest Batman movie, crashed at Francistown in ­Botswana.

Ironically, the world had already seen their aircraft, an Embraer Bandeirante, “crash” in the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, which came out last year.

Rob Tasker (75) and Lindy Brooks (56) from Batair Cargo flew to the UK for their part in the movie. Their plane was filmed and then “crashed” using computer-generated special effects.

Tasker’s son, Bobby, is a firefighting pilot in KZN. A friend of Tasker, Piet Nel, said he was on his way to Botswana to identify the bodies and establish the cause of the crash. Yesterday, officials of the SA Civil Aviation Authority were already investigating the scene of the crash.

Tasker and Brooks had departed from their base at Lanseria airport to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday. They wanted to make a scheduled landing at Francistown to refuel, but thick mist on the ground caused them to miss the landing strip on their first pass. They informed aircraft control they would make a second pass because they could see the landing strip.

That was the last the control tower heard from them. The wreck of their plane was found two hours later in bushes about 10 km from the airport.

Nel said there were no details as yet on what had caused the crash, or exactly when Tasker and Brooks had died.

Reports are that one of them had died in hospital and the other on the way to ­hospital.

Nel said it the cause of the crash was still a mystery. He added the cargo was totally undamaged.

“The load could just be picked up and taken further,” he said.

The two pilots had landed at the Francistown airport many times previously.

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