Italtile CEO killed in Plett plane crash

2011-02-09 11:25

Johannesburg - The chief executive officer of tile company Italtile, Gianpaolo Ravazzotti, was one of nine people killed in a plane crash over Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route on Tuesday, the company said.

"Gianpaolo Ravazzotti and his colleagues tragically passed away in an aeroplane accident on Tuesday  08 February 2011," the company's board said in a statement released on Wednesday morning.

"The wreckage of the aircraft has been located in the Robberg area and the bodies of all of the passengers have been found.

"A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of the crash."


The dead include Ravazzotti and eight of his colleagues and business partners - Gia Celori of Italtile Ltd, Marilize Compion of Italtile Ltd, Sava Di Bella of Prima Bella Bathroom Accessories, Simon Hirschberg of the company Grainwave Pty Ltd, Jody Jansen van Rensburg of CTM Alberton, Aletsia Krause of Italtile Ltd, Bronwyn Parsons the pilot for Italtile Ltd and co-pilot Alison van Staden.

"On behalf of the board, I express my heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the chairman of the group, Mr Gianni Ravazzotti, his wife Annabel and their daughters and Gianpaolo's wife, Vanessa and their children, as well as the families of all of the deceased," Italtile chief financial officer Peter Swatton said.

"The group will ensure that every effort is made to provide the counselling and support required by those affected by this tragedy."

The board said it would announce its succession plans "in due course".


NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon told Sapa the aircraft's wreckage was found just off-shore of the Robberg Nature Reserve at 06:06 on Wednesday.

The aircraft had been travelling from Queenstown to Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday.

It disappeared at 16:00 on Tuesday while trying to land near the Robberg Nature Reserve in heavy fog.

The plane was believed to be a single-engine Pilatus PC-12.

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  • Darwinian - 2011-02-09 11:30

    My condolences to the families and friends

  • - 2011-02-09 11:32

    So very tragic. Condolences to all involved.

  • changeisGood - 2011-02-09 11:37

    This sad indeed. condolences!!

  • GT - 2011-02-09 11:51

    Terrible thing, very sad. The PC12 is the one small plane I would put my family on without a worry. It is the safest small plane ever made. Never had an engine failure in its history. It seems that the pilot may have tried to exceed his capabilities in the conditions.

      RobCT - 2011-02-09 12:10

      Unfortunately GT, both pilot and co-pilot were woman. It is really sad when this happens as there will always be repercusions relating either to gender or race albeit very unfairly. My heartfelt sympathy for the family at this time.

      Podgette - 2011-02-09 13:17

      Was waiting for the sexist comments. I do believe whether male or female you do the same exams to become a pilot.

      Shamwari - 2011-02-09 14:38

      My heart sank when I realised that the pilots where women coz I knew somone was going to have a go at that fact... not good.

      mandri.olivier - 2011-02-09 16:44

      Oh come on! Why the sexist comments??? They went through the same training and exams as the men! They were both very capable! Why do we need all this crap when there are families and friends going through hell at the moment! Have a heart!

      RobertKay - 2011-02-09 20:39

      Quite right GT - the Pilatus is a top flight aerie, and I share your sentiments. To those uninitiated contributors making sick remarks about female pilots - let me tell you that all holders of a CPL do exactly the same test and exams, so whether you're male or female makes no difference. The sick comments by Jayxer and P226 show their limited mental capabilities. As probably the most experiences (now retired) pilot on this forum with over 50 years of flying experience, I think I know what I'm talking about. This could have happened to anybody, and until such time that the official investigation has been finalised, any guesswork is a waste of time, and can hurt family and friends of the deceased, especially the pilots. So if you have nothing intellegent to contribute, may I politely suggest you put a sock in it. My condolences to all those left behind.

      Nice Guy - 2011-02-10 11:32

      Agreed all are equal. Maybe just best to restrict during periods of the period if you know what i mean. Might have caused some level of distraction

  • Sharks fan - 2011-02-09 11:51

    I worked for Italtile many years ago. The Ravazzotti family are pleasent, sincere and down to earth. My sincere sympathy goes out the families and the staff at Italtile. A tragic loss.

      Phillip - 2011-02-09 15:56

      Yip! I have also previous worked for the Italtile Group - CTM. Very down to earth, family people!

      Soothsayer - 2011-02-09 15:59

      May be it is a blessing in disguise.Italtile did not offer me a trainee manager's position in 2003.May be I was gonna be one of the victims.

  • sbriedenhann - 2011-02-09 11:56

    So sorry to hear of this. Condolences to all the families and friends.

  • - 2011-02-09 11:56

    RIP Gia and your colleagues too.

  • tdk25 - 2011-02-09 12:03

    Sad...may their soul rest in peace

  • JohannV - 2011-02-09 12:05

    Ah shit! Bronwyn, rest in peace. As well as the others I didn't know. Condolences to Italtile and all the families involved. Sad day indeed.

  • Retha - 2011-02-09 12:08

    What a loss. Condolences to all with this tragic event

  • scottdavies123 - 2011-02-09 12:09

    A good friend of mine was going to be on that plane and at the last minute decided not to go. It is a complete shock to him and even though he was not involved, I feel how close he came to tragedy. These people had wives, husbands, kids! It is so sad!

      RobCT - 2011-02-09 12:21

      Life works in strange ways. Your friend was indeed very very lucky. It is times like these that he can become an ambassador to promote life's positive vibes and not negative ones (like some idiots who have responded here).

      Ginseng - 2011-02-09 12:34

      Well you can look at it differently. Had your friend gone on the plane then every aspect of the trip would have changed (mostly due to a slightly different take off time). Therefore your friends decision not to go on the plane may have indirectly doomed these people. Its just like when people say that they almost got into a car with someone and then that person had an accident. They think they were lucky they didn't get in but had they got in the accident probably would never had happen.

      PAR - 2011-02-09 12:39

      I think it again proves that when it is your time there is nothing you can do to stop it - that is why some people survive gun shot wounds whilst others die in the dentist chair.

      RobCT - 2011-02-09 12:43

      @Ginseng. Wow you are a dose of inspiration. You've been watching to many Final Destination movies pal

  • harry1 - 2011-02-09 12:13

    Perhaps News24 can have a moderator scan through comments before posting because in that way you can stop some of the insensitive and plain vile comments being posted. Many overseas news sites do it. - 2011-02-09 12:28

      @harry1 ....Thats exactly what the ANC want to practice, curb freedom of speech........Chop head......

      harry1 - 2011-02-09 14:52

      There's a huge difference between freedom of speech and freedom to insult and hurt. It is so easy to call it freedom of speech if you hide behind some pseudonym with no address or phone number - 2011-02-10 10:00

      whats your point......wheres you address and number......every person that resond on thise site have in one way or the other insulted and hurt people, including practice what you preach.....still a chop

      hf44083 - 2011-02-10 13:34

      I agree with Harry, its not blocking freedom of speech. Having recently started reading News 24 comments I cannot understand the stupid mentality of some people, total strangers have such petty ridiculous slinging matches on this site. Add snesible common sense remarks not a load of nasty, unpleasant and uncalled for remarks and in most cases fro those who know the least about the subject. Grow up SA readers

      grinleer - 2011-02-10 14:20

      I agree with you, can people in a situation so tragic cannot follow the old old saying "if you have nothing nice to say then thats what you should say"

  • Sharon - 2011-02-09 12:13

    I had the privilege of doing business with Gianpaolo, and he was a true gentleman. You and your colleagues will be missed. Thoughts and prayers go out to all the families who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

      Johann - 2011-02-09 12:27

      Ditto here. We only chatted a couple of times, but GP showed that some Execs are still willing to get their hands dirty. Heart felt condolences to all at Italtile, and the families of all 9 people on that flight.

  • AZB - 2011-02-09 12:20

    Very sad. My condolences to the families, colleges and friends of all 9 onboard.

  • Sean - 2011-02-09 12:21

    my condolences to the families and friends.....tshidisegang

  • Joe_Cool - 2011-02-09 12:22

    My condolences to the families , Ntanda keep your comments for your own type

  • Cliff - 2011-02-09 12:23

    Very sad indeed,condolences to all their loved ones. May the Lord bless and comfort them. May Plettenberg Bay Airport will finally wake up and do something about their pathetic equipment.How many more people must loose their lives.

      mikedek - 2011-02-09 14:05

      Hello Cliff. Plett airport is in fact an unmanned airfield with no "pathetic equipment". Where did you get your information to make such an ignorant comment.

  • Cliff - 2011-02-09 12:26

    Very sad indeed,condolences to all their loved ones. May the Lord bless and comfort them. Maybe Plettenberg Bay Airport management will finally wake up and do something about their pathetic equipment.How many more people must loose their lives.

      mikedek - 2011-02-09 13:53

      Hello Cliff. No need to show your ignorance. Plett only has an airfield and not a manned airport. That is in George. If you are interested it has gone out on tender as they intend to convert it to a regional airport.How do you know about the "pathetic equipment!"that you refer to. In future avoid commenting if you have limited knowledge of the circumstances.

      Patience - 2011-02-09 14:50

      Mike, you've made your point OK?

  • cesare.castignani - 2011-02-09 12:32

    Condolences to all. How could they allow so many from one organisation on a SINGLE engined aircraft? In the corporates I've worked in, that is strictly forbidden. Anyway, it's too late now. Very sad indeed.

  • Norman - 2011-02-09 12:33

    Tragic. condolences to the family of Sava Di Bella. He is remembered as a friend. Norman Chandler.

  • Smanga - 2011-02-09 12:33

    I think that in such articles, comments should be disabled because some people are just out of control, heartless and stupid to put it bluntly!

      nonamejv - 2011-02-09 13:25

      Fully agree

      threezero - 2011-02-09 15:16

      And the hypocrites who crucify them for their kak comments? They only encourage it.

      ShellR - 2011-02-10 07:37

      Agreed. People are not civilised enough to give this the respect that it deserves. They use it as a platform to express personal and political viewpoints. Some situations are NOT suitable for these views and this is one of them. Pass on your condolences and move on.

  • Johann - 2011-02-09 12:33

    insencitive! king shaka

  • Nintendo - 2011-02-09 12:34

    deepest condolences to their families on this tragic loss,

  • Maggie - 2011-02-09 12:36

    My innige simpatie aan al die familielede van die oorledenes. Dit is altyd so n hartseer storie. Ek kan my nie indink waar deur hulle moet gaan nie. Sterkte en my gebede is by julle.

      John Seloa - 2011-02-09 14:51

      Uthini lo?

  • FierdouzB - 2011-02-09 12:44

    Our heartfelt condolences to the family and friend of the deceased. It is truly tragic!

  • NS - 2011-02-09 12:46

    What a tragedy. Glad one of my collegues was not on Board

  • hawksnr - 2011-02-09 12:46

    I think its time for News 24 to pull the plug on comments. Will there ever be a time when we will see objective comments, there are still to many angry people from both sides........................... and reading all these "comments" is sickening and pure racism, people lost their lives and the majority of comments are uncalled for.

      Anne - 2011-02-09 17:08

      Unfortunately the anonymity of the Internet brings out the true nature of these cowards.

      ShellR - 2011-02-10 07:39

      Hear Hear !

  • kventer - 2011-02-09 12:52

    So very sad! My heartfelt condolences to the families and friends!

  • bluewire123 - 2011-02-09 12:54

    Condolences to the families. Your loss is ours. On the topic of operations, many large companies and certainly most governments ensure that key personnel are not allowed to fly on the same flight incase something like this happens.

  • irenebroome11 - 2011-02-09 12:54

    The co-pilot Alison van Staden was someone a friend of mine grew up with (her best friend in fact) - just recently married to a fellow pilot and ready to start a family. A beautiful woman with a gentle nature. These people are someone's loved one's - their are families and friends out their hurting beyond belief and yet their are people that will laugh in the face of it - shame on you

      irenebroome11 - 2011-02-09 13:04

      Oh and another point to the chauvinists - she was an EXCELLENT pilot and had clearly flown for them before

      Viparo - 2011-02-09 13:22

      I know her husband very well. Poor guy is shattered

      x - 2011-02-09 13:30

      Don't let peoples comments upset you. There are always people who comment without thinking; who don't realise that the family of the deceased could most likely be reading the comments. It must have been such a frigtening experience. My heart goes out to them and the people they leave behind.

      irenebroome11 - 2011-02-09 13:38

      Viparo - I know, he called my friend at 12:30am telling her that his wife's plane was missing - she is going to visit him tonight

      Sheena - 2011-02-09 14:21

      Thank you for the beautiful words. She was a beautiful woman with a gentle nature and will be missed more than she will ever know.

  • Janine - 2011-02-09 12:55

    Condolences to all the families involved.

  • Hennie - 2011-02-09 13:01

    Sadness hangs over Plett with this tragerdy - condolences to all the families we will keep you all in our prayers The Country Crescent Hotel feels your loss Sometime we do not understand why but know this; GOD is with them and they are safe now Any news on the dog that was with them? "Hennie v Staden"

      Viparo - 2011-02-09 13:23

      Are you serious Hennie? Man, this story just got a lot worse even thou I thought it impossible.

  • Melly30 - 2011-02-09 13:04

    My condolences to all family and friends! So very sad...

  • Xysecret - 2011-02-09 13:15

    Very sad indeed , I have had numerous dealings with the ItalTile group and all of them have ben smooth and to the point , the respect shown in the company as well I can imagine it came from the top , but thats life we all gotta go some how.

  • P226 - 2011-02-09 13:18

    condolences to the family. Small aircraft aren't safe.

  • Sheena - 2011-02-09 13:21

    My dear friend Alison van Staden, may you rest in peace. My condolences go out to the loved ones of all who were on the plane. To those insensitive people who have nothing better to do than make stupid comments it's not even worth feeling sorry for you. Alison was a perfectly competent pilot and something must have gone horribly wrong to get to this outcome. She would have done everything in her power to keep her passengers safe. Rest in peace my friend.

      irenebroome11 - 2011-02-09 13:28

      Sheens Im sure you saw my comment up above - as always sending love to you, Eileen and everybody else that has lost someone special.

      pilotdean - 2011-02-09 13:45

      Sheena very sad day in all our lives. dean

      Radical - 2011-02-09 14:19

      Sheena, I read many comments and arguements going back and forth on this page. The only conclusive thing here is not to argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. I feel for your loss of a friend and for the loss to the families.

      gill.katz - 2011-02-09 16:27

      My sympathies to you XX

      mandri.olivier - 2011-02-09 16:39

      Sheens, I know its difficult but try to ignore what was posted. What Radical said is so true. I should have read this before I posted above. Love you lots!

      Liz2882 - 2011-02-09 16:45

      We only knew the Ravazzotti's, but also send condolences to the families and children of the other passengers and the female pilots! Please ignore the absolute horrendous messages that are so unnecessary and hurtful. I am sure these pilots were fully capable of handling the aircraft, and something went wrong! A eye-witness has mentioned hearing roaring screaming engines coming out of the mist, so definately there was a problem......they are now safely in heaven, and totally out of pain! Rest in peace , all of them!

  • Godfrey - 2011-02-09 13:25

    While I firmly understand that business and life should go on, It sounds and feels rather insensitive to even mention the issue of the succession plan in the article.May their souls rest in peace. We keep their families in our prayers.

      irenebroome11 - 2011-02-09 13:34

      Have to agree with that

  • Perfume - 2011-02-09 13:27

    Condolences to their family, friends and colleagues :-/

  • nesquik458 - 2011-02-09 13:43

    Condolences to the families and friends. It's gonna be sad walking into the office and having empty seats.

      no_judgement - 2011-02-09 14:20

      I agree. GP was a charismatic leader who motivated, encouraged and supported employees personally and professionally. Gia was a respected senior and a pillar of strength. Marilize and Aletsia were both friends of many, hard working woman who had their whole lives ahead of them. Bronwyn was a competent pilot and I thank her for getting me safely to the ground many a time. Jody was an innovative operator who gave all of himself to his store and the organisation. Simon and Sava will be missed dearly. This is an unfortunate event for the family and friends of the deceased as well as the organisation. Seeing comments of condolences makes me realise that we can support each other no matter our past beliefs or stigma’s. I am thankful to all who have taken the time to send their well wishes. This is a testimony that we should be thankful for every moment we can spend with those who touch our lives, it should not be a time to make political, racial or unsympathetic remarks.

      Pieter - 2011-02-09 14:57

      Seems like a high risk flight - one engine, nine high level people travelling together. Companies should rather split their Managers so that they do not lose all their key people. This is very sad for the family and many people around them. However, if it is your time to die, it can happen in a way least expected. These people did not have the time to prepare themselves, it happened so suddenly. It shows that nothing in life is certain, so be always prepared.

  • Proffie - 2011-02-09 13:52

    My sinceresympathies and condolences to all the famly and friends of the deceased. As for the gender of the pilots, its neither here nor there. They do the same extremely stringent tests and exams to pass. Its not matric where 33% gets you a licence.

  • Zanu - 2011-02-09 14:09

    So sad :( condolences

  • Lanzelle - 2011-02-09 14:23

    Thinking of all the families of people who died in this horrific plane crash. We received this devastating news this morning about our friend Jody Janse Van Rensburg, previously from Cape Town, who tragically also died in the crash at this young age. We will never forget you!RIP

  • Noctis - 2011-02-09 14:32

    Terrible tragedy. My sincerest condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones.

  • Sue-Ellen - 2011-02-09 14:42

    To Lara Jansen van Rensburg and children, my condolences to you and your family.

      tamara.smitsdorff - 2011-02-09 14:52

      Sue, there was no Lara?

      Sue-Ellen - 2011-02-09 15:08

      Lara is Jody Jansen van Rensburgs wife, re-read my msg doll. ;)

  • April - 2011-02-09 14:53

    This is a huge tragedy.My condolences to all the family and friends.

  • Herbert - 2011-02-09 15:02

    Mmmmm, I wonder if someone has drawn the statistical improbability of two female pilots and the plane going down, down, down...

      noelld - 2011-02-09 22:25

      Have you thought how inane your comment is?

      Picasso - 2011-02-10 07:39

      And the moron award goes tooooooooooohooooooooooo Herbert!! *standing ovation*

      Picasso - 2011-02-10 10:25

      It was a suicide mission? Now why would the pilot kills herself whilst the CEO is in debt? Any proof to support your stupid comment?

  • Reza - 2011-02-09 15:18

    My instructor is the co-pilot Alison van Staden. May god rest her in peace!

  • JudithNkwe - 2011-02-09 15:34

    My condolences to all at Italtile, CTM and the families and friends of the deceased

  • - 2011-02-09 15:56

    There are some women pilots out there that are some of the best in the country/world. and for you fking idiots to make such nasty comments go and eat s$%t. Loved ones have been lost here and there are a lot of hurting beings right now.

  • - 2011-02-09 16:14

    Editors and headline writers!!! Please get it right. The man was not "killed", he died. To kill means to intensionally take another person's life. This was an accident (please refer to the dictionary for a definition).

      Picasso - 2011-02-10 10:31

      Dictionary: kill: cause the death of (a person, animal, or other living thing): her father was killed in a car crash | [intrans.] a robber armed with a shotgun who kills in cold blood. According to the Mac Dictionary nothing wrong with the heading. He was killed by the crash.