Plane slices woman in half on runway

Johannesburg - A light aircraft coming in to land at the Ermelo airstrip on Monday hit a woman as she ran across the runway, slicing her in two.

Police said local pilot Malcolm Wushard collided with one of three women who were running over the runway.

Police spokesperson Captain Carla Prinsloo said it would appear as though the woman were picking up wood in a plantation near the airfield.

"They took a shortcut over the airfield but one of the women miscalculated and was hit by the plane’s left wing,” Prinsloo said on Tuesday.

CAA investigating

The woman, who was believed to be in her late 50s, was hit by the plane’s left and cross wing.

Wushard was unhurt but the Mooney plane apparently sustained damages to the wing and wheel.

Prinsloo said police were still waiting for the victim’s family to come to Ermelo to identify the body. The post-mortem will probably be held on Wednesday.

Police have opened an inquest docket, and the incident has been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority. CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu confirmed the incident.

“We have already sent an investigation team to Ermelo.”

A pilot said on an online chat forum on Wednesday that local residents had put up ladders on both sides of the Ermelo airstrip and regularly climbed over them to cross the runway.

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
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