Desperate efforts to find missing planes

2011-08-14 22:30

Cape Town - The search for two missing Piaggio P166 aircraft is continuing.

The alert was sounded after the two aircraft, which had taken part in an airshow at Tzaneen, failed to arrive at the Rand Airport at Germiston on time.

Search parties on foot are scouring the areas where the aircraft may have gone down. The Wolkberg area near Tzaneen is one of the areas being searched as aircraft were reported in the area.

The two Albatross planes had been at the Tzaneen Air Show and left for Rand Airport before lunch on Sunday in marginal weather. There are believed to be between 12 and 14 people on board, including the pilots. It is believed that the aircraft would have flown in formation flying directly to Rand Airport.

Search and Rescue's Johnny Smit says that all the standard procedures were followed after the aircraft were reported missing. An air search was conducted on Sunday afternoon till poor light forced the aircraft to withdraw. Several of the pilots who had been at the show joined in the search. 

A new air search will be launched at 05:00 on Monday morning, weather permitting.

In the meantime attempts are being made to triangulate the last known positions of cellphones which may have been on board, according to a post on iflyafrica.

It is reported the several prominent people in aviation circles were on board as well as the families of pilots taking part in the air show.

Sapa reports that the Mopani District Municipality believes the planes may be in the George's Valley area, between Polokwane and Tzaneen, spokesperson Mashadi Mathosa said.

"There is a joint search operation to find the planes...George's valley is a mountainous area so we are concerned."

- Are you affected? Send us your eyewitness accounts

  • FearoPhobia - 2011-08-14 22:53

    Holding thumbs

      Eric West - 2011-08-15 09:24

      Same here, but I am afraid that this is not going to end well. :(

      alicia - 2011-08-15 10:11


      DABOSS247365 - 2011-08-15 10:40

      @alicia, you may disagree, but perhaps prayer is not what they need, what they need is for people to join the search & maybe maybe find them in time to treat any possible survivors, as opposed to communications with an invisible friend...

      SlapTjip - 2011-08-15 12:33

      Dabos, to make reference to God himself as a invisible friend is utter disrepect from your side to wards those who do believe in Him. The mere fact that you do not believe in him does not mean you have the right to be disrepectfull. Now back on topic, I too am afraid these scenarios normally do not have happy endings.

      DABOSS247365 - 2011-08-15 13:18

      @slaptjip, my apologies if my comment sounded crude. the point is that we can discuss the issue of prayers endlessly. in the end if there is a happy ending, we get told that the prayers & god had something to do with it. if there is no happy ending, we get told that it is the will of god & "they are in a better place" To me personally, the reality is that unless we can give physical support, IE, play a part in the search, we are of little use or help in the situation on the ground.

  • Deckard - 2011-08-14 23:12

    Lets hope they are all found unhurt.

  • buang - 2011-08-14 23:15

    Thats sad. My prayers goes to them

  • ANTIZIONIST - 2011-08-14 23:36

    gevaarlike speelgoed !!

  • stuart.steedman - 2011-08-14 23:59

    I'm not going to say my prayers are with them, because honestly, how many people online who say that actually get down and pray - but I do truly hope that all parties are found alive and well, although skepticism tells me that if they haven't been found, and there hasn't been contact, there's probably been a crash.

  • PIETER - 2011-08-14 23:59

    At about 10 am this morning I heard in the heavily overcast area around Modjadjiskloof the roar of a big airplane in the clouds above and looked up but could see nothing. Perhaps the mountianous area around here should also be searched-Pieter

      Pete - 2011-08-15 02:56

      It will be worth you reporting that to the police who can tell the search and rescue guys. Some good mates of mine are on those aircraft - I am hoping......

      PIETER - 2011-08-15 10:46

      Jose replied that the time was about 10 am, then surely the search must include the mountainous area around Duiwelskloof/modjadjiskloof

  • Dmitri - 2011-08-15 05:28

    Always sad to hear news like this. Hope they are found quickly.

  • duncan - 2011-08-15 06:10

    Rick, where are earth do you get such crap ideas ?

  • Jakob - 2011-08-15 06:46

    maybe its the "wegraping"?

      carinx - 2011-08-15 09:25

      here's to hoping you're next

  • Tsundzuka - 2011-08-15 06:47

    Shame, I Can only hope for the best

  • Ernest - 2011-08-15 07:02

    Die berge rondom Tzaneen is baie gevaarlik veral in onweer en kan selfs die mees gesoute vlieinier onkant betrap aangesien die wokberge in stappe klim. Jy reken jy is reeds hoog genoeg en oor die hoogste om net te vind daar is nog n paar 100 meter se berge reg voor jou.sterkte aan almal btrokke....het n broer in n vliegongeluk verloor en kan julle verseker dis geen grap vir die naasbestaandes nie. Die onsekerheid is uiters stresvol en onvanpas opmerkings help nie.

  • michael - 2011-08-15 07:19

    Sterkte aan almal betrokke ek hoop die uitkoms sal positief wees.

  • DEVILS SON - 2011-08-15 08:12

    they were nationalised midair and just vanished. come on guys you can do it!!!

      GB - 2011-08-15 11:11

      What a stupid comment , you cretin. Devils Son you say - I doubt very much if even know who your father is.

  • Wendy - 2011-08-15 08:40

    Wendy Hughes Family and friends concerned our thoughts are with you we are praying for a safe return of all concerned lets stay positive, Athol our support will always be here for you, hang in there.

  • Wendy - 2011-08-15 08:46

    Wendy / African Pilot To everyone waiting to hear news of their loved ones our thoughts are with you all let's stay postive in our support for what you must be going through, Athol our prayers are with you.

  • Nipcat - 2011-08-15 08:49

    While my heart goes out to the families, I cannot help but state the obvious. This is happening far too much to small aircraft! When will they learn?

      onthefence - 2011-08-15 09:01

      When will who learn and what should they learn? Accidents happen, as tragic as they are, but the number of aircraft incidents vs. aircraft flying is very low I think (please correct me if I am wrong)

      rialine - 2011-08-15 14:29

      This is actually not a "small aircraft" we went to the airshow on Saturday, the Albetros is huge, and the pilots handled them very capably whilst performing their manoeuvers. This is just a tragic accident. The Wolkberg Mountain range unfortunately has claimed many a pilots life.

  • PIETER - 2011-08-15 09:02

    Could anybody please give us the time of departure of those planes from Tzaneen airfield so we could perhaps help further into finding out which way they were flying by observations made from people in the area at that time. Pieter

      Jose - 2011-08-15 09:27

      Hi Pieter, they took off at about 10:00 am.

  • Beannie - 2011-08-15 09:20

    My thoughts and prayers are with them, this is too sad, I just wish people like Rick would go away.

      Marius - 2011-08-15 10:26

      I hope they are in the Kruger Park having some quality time

      Marius - 2011-08-15 10:30

      Looks like Rick has deleted his post, Im sure they are going to be ok, have to be positive.

  • Clyde - 2011-08-15 09:31

    This send shivers down my spine... My girlfriend passed away earlier this year on the Italtile Plane Crash in Plet. My prayers are with the families.

  • adventure_girl - 2011-08-15 11:48

    i think those who wish to pray should pray, because lets face it, not everyone can join the search, some of us are too far away. Those who can search, or offer assistance, should. the rest of us can pray and ask the Lord to guide the rescue teams. i think thats a fair statement? :)

  • Boxertronic - 2011-08-15 13:33

    : Hope they are found alive and well . I Hate flying , can only imagine their fear !!!

  • Nic Holmes - 2011-08-15 15:04

    There are 100 people involved in this search, and numerous aircraft waiting for the weather to abait so they can get into the air. I hope for everyones sake that they search is over shortly and that the rescue teams out there are well equipped and have success... Remember guys stay safe, there is no use putting yourself at risk or your team at risk, no rescue team wants more casualties than what they already dealing with.

  • vlotra - 2011-08-15 16:57

    Don't this type of aircraft have transponders surely that type of equipment should be a must.

      Marius - 2011-08-17 14:23

      They are about R20 000, but you can install a normal tracker, cell phone device for much less.

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