Fewer aviation deaths in SA

2015-10-08 16:53
(Picture: iStock)

(Picture: iStock)

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Johannesburg - On June 6 last year, a 29-year-old pilot was flying a small, single-engine plane from George aerodrome to Tsitsikamma, when the engine began vibrating, then seized. He watched the propeller separate from the nose of the plane and disappear over his cockpit.

He was about 2500 feet, or 760m above the ground, sent a mayday message, and landed safely on a deserted beach at Keurboomstrand, east of Plettenberg Bay.

In the Civil Aviation Authority's report on the incident the cause was determined as "catastrophic engine failure". The engine seized and the propeller was sheared off its bolts.

This was just one of 120 accidents the CAA investigated in the financial year between April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015. A total of 26 people were killed.

Tragic? Undoubtedly, but a significant improvement over the 2013/2014 financial year, when 41 people were killed in 144 accidents.

The number of fatal accidents decreased from 27 to 16 (41%) in the two financial years.

In the commercial aviation sector there were no fatal accidents.

"We urge the general aviation and recreational sector to emulate the safety culture that has year-after-year ensured that commercial operations maintain an admirable safety record," said the CAA’s civil aviation director Poppy Khoza.

The figures were released on Wednesday, during an aviation national safety seminar.

Khoza said recent crashes, like Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and Germanwings Flight 9525 were reminders of the importance of security in aviation.

Such tragedies had highlighted the need for pilots to be in good mental and physical health.

Read more on:    air crashes  |  aviation

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