CAA starts probe into plane crash tragedy

2011-08-16 14:08

Johannesburg - Investigations have commenced into the Tzaneen plane crash tragedy in Limpopo, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Tuesday.

Indications so far are that the two Albatross aircraft carrying six and seven passengers respectively, caught fire after crashing into the Mamotswiri peak, CAA spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said.

"Investigators will now begin collecting what is needed from the wreckage on Mamotswiri Peak. That will then be taken to authorities for testing."

The names of the 13 victims, including two children, from two light plane crashes in Limpopo, were released on Tuesday following the discovery of the wreckage site.

"We can confirm that the bodies of 13 people, including two children, were found near the wreckage on Tuesday morning," said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Those on board the first plane, ZU MMI, were pilot Brian Gruar and passengers Marrion Anderson, Maddison and Alexandra Doak, Tess Spence, Louise Warden and Kevin Woolacott.

On board the second plane, ZS NJX, were pilot Peter Gildenhuys, and passengers Stuart and Peter van Oldenburg, Frans Dely, Marietjie de Witt, and Linda Pierce.

Dely was a well-known Johannesburg aviation photographer.

Flew directly into cliff

The planes took off from a landing strip in Tzaneen after an air show on Sunday and were headed to the Rand Airport in Germiston, Gauteng.

Mopani District municipal Mayor Joshua Matlou said the two planes were flying in formation when they crashed in the Lekgalametse mountains northeast of Tzaneen. They were at an elevation of 1 570m.

"They flew directly into the cliff. There was no mid-air collision," he said.

There was no mayday broadcast before the crash and indications were that the occupants of both planes died on impact.

Mulaudzi said the families of the victims were receiving counselling.

Search and Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smit said the crash site was discovered by a police helicopter at 08:15.

Bad weather and low cloud conditions had hampered search and rescue operations on Monday, Smit said.

  • Ann - 2011-08-16 14:16

    RIP all deceased. Sincere condolences and prayers are with all friends and family who have lost their loved ones. :(

  • Sassy Z - 2011-08-16 14:17

    Any death is tragic and my condolences are extended to the families.

  • Zion - 2011-08-16 14:18

    The explanation "Both flew into a cliff" is just not good enough. Onewould have expected more from the aviators who are known for their expertise.

      Tolerant - 2011-08-16 14:31

      Visibility was probably bad and at 1.5km most would feel safe. This was a sad accident.

      Valis - 2011-08-16 14:40

      It's a sad fact that the vast majority of plane crashes are caused by "controlled flight into terrain".

      Flinger - 2011-08-16 14:57

      What does that mean Valis? Are the satelites and GPS's not giving enough info about true terrain altitude? If this is common, wouldnt you rather fly at a minimum of x ft above sea level and x = 200m above the highest peak in the flying zone. It would be the air traffic controllers job to enforce it which means they would have monitored the craft and we wouldnt have to wait 3 days to find out these people were killed....right?

      Linus - 2011-08-16 15:10

      Flinger - what Valis means is that the pilots screwed up. Hopefully the pilots and their passengers even did'nt know what hit them. Very tragic but I can guarantee you this was pilot error... and TWO pilots nogal

      clourens - 2011-08-16 15:11

      @Zion they were both flying Visual flight Rules as they filed a VFR flight plan, and in formation which means the pilot in the following plane follows every move that the leader does so if the leading pilot made an error the second plane would have followed that is the rules, @flinger all the information the pilots had were true but because they filed a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) flight plan this meant they would have to stay below the base of the cloud in order to maintain visual reference after which visibility could have been lost due to a storm or clouds closing in.... Please remember of all the pilots in the world there are different ratings some pilot are only VFR rated, Some are IFR rates and some are Night rated these are three very different environments to work in. Once again I express my condolences to family and friends this is a huge hit to the aviation family may they R.I.P.

      Flinger - 2011-08-16 15:14

      Agreed and thanks for the info. RIP

      clourens - 2011-08-16 15:17

      Please also remember my previous message was merely an assumption of what might have happened the CAA will definitely clarify the cause and how something like this could happen.

      Ingie - 2011-08-16 15:40

      If visibilty was bad they should never had left the airport

      clourens - 2011-08-16 16:03

      @Ingie you are 100% correct but from when your on the ground until your in the air you never know how fast bad weather can set in. Like I said previously take my comments lightly as nothing is certain until the CAA releases an official statement.

      shortfinal - 2011-08-16 16:14

      A mid air collusion cannot be ruled out. The direction of impact could point towards controlled flight into terrain making that the biggest probability but until such time as an official investigation comes to a conclusion, we are all just speculating. I can think off 10 different scenarios that could all be valid. Some might be unlikely but not impossible.TWA B 747 out off long island (?) was definitely , without a doubt, officially announced by the FBI as having been shot down. Months later investigators concluded and proved it was an electrical problem. Point is laying blame is not helping any. Finding what coursed this tragic event so that the industry can learn from it in order to prevent similar accidents from happening again is what we needs to be pursued! That is the whole propose off an investigation.

      clourens - 2011-08-16 16:22

      @shortfinal I agree with you 100% thanks for the input :-)

  • Golden - 2011-08-16 14:32

    F.Off racist. Not know, you low IQ creature. Nature will deal with you later. Please remove your insensitive comment and show some compassion - if you understand what that is.

  • pberchu - 2011-08-16 14:55

    Very Sad, indeed. I was in the area on Saturday & wondered how difficult it would be to find somebody in that terrain.

  • Cindy2810 - 2011-08-16 14:57

    how very sad :( my condolences to their friends and family

  • flummoxed - 2011-08-16 15:03

    How very tragic. Sincere condolences to family and friends. SA's prayers are with you

  • mark.maverick1 - 2011-08-16 15:10

    My condolences to the friends and family of both Brian and Marrion, I knew them both personally and have never known to more likeable and upstanding flying citizens of South Africa. God Rest your souls my friends!!!

  • Dr Dj - 2011-08-16 15:11

    On any forum, blog etc there are people who are just trying to see what reaction they can get, this @HolySnake is such a case. It's like a dare, a game. Please ignore him/her. His comment about Denel is a giveaway! Condolences to the families involved in this tragedy, a sad day. May God give you peace and console you...

  • flummoxed - 2011-08-16 15:15

    What's with the crass insensitive comments you guys. This was a tragic loss to family and friends of the deceased. Have a bit of finesse

  • izzy - 2011-08-16 15:17

    NEWS 24, Would you please be so kind as to remove these people that really do lack respect for others. Ban them , block them i dont care. These racist remarks are really getting old now.

  • Natasha - 2011-08-16 15:20

    The entire aviation community would like to thank the Search and Rescue teams and all the volunteers that offered their personal resources and their time to help find our friends and the family members of our friends. A memorial site was set up in the foyer of Rand Airport for cards, messages and flowers. Please visit the facebook page Albatros Aircraft-Aviators Unite.

  • Trudi - 2011-08-16 15:20

    Sincerest Condolences. RIP

  • Janine - 2011-08-16 15:27

    Sad news indeed. Even though it always looked as if the outcome would be bad I still hoped for a miracle. Condolences to the families.

  • Craig - 2011-08-16 15:58

    Horrible accident. Condolences to all that lost loved ones.

  • Davina - 2011-08-16 16:01

    Condolences to all loved ones. RIP

  • JCWR56 - 2011-08-16 16:04

    @clourens, question - assuming that a pilot (not necessarily these guys) is rated IFR (i assume instrument flight rules) does he have the option when filing a flight plan to use IFR or VFR or both? ok i guess what i'm really asking, if they had flown IFR, would this accident have been avoided? this is not a criticism of the pilots, just a question. my condolences to all involved, my sons are at school with the van Oldenburgh boys (Stuart) and it's hit them hard.

      clourens - 2011-08-16 16:18

      Well he does have the option to use both if he has done the relevant training if you can fly IFR then you can fly both VFR and IFR, VFR is basic training where as IFR and Night Flying are different ratings on your license, Again as far as I have heard off the news one of the pilots was IFR but filed a VFR flight plan which means the other pilot may not have been IFR rated. This is all assumption.

  • JCWR56 - 2011-08-16 16:22

    @clourens, thanks - understood

  • JoJo - 2011-08-16 16:38

    Condolences to all families who lost their loved ones. This is truly tragic!!!

  • Patricia - 2011-08-16 16:51

    Prayers and thoughts are with all the families.

  • Kwanele Asante - 2011-08-16 17:58

    Dear News24 team: Please remove HolySnake's comment. It is nothing but outlawed incitement and hate speech in violation of Section 16 of the Constitution. The deceased and their families deserve respect.Thank you, Kwanele Asante.

  • Kevin - 2011-08-16 18:09

    The mayor says "Northeast of Tzaneen"???....doesn't sound right. RIP all deceased...Until we all meet in that great hangar in the sky.

  • Doug - 2011-08-16 18:11

    Our sincere condolences to those left behind.The facts can come later.

  • Rina - 2011-08-16 18:23

    Ex Sasol Tigers.Like those who went before you, Brian,Marion,Peter,Frans, may no longer be of this world but your special love and friendship will always be in our hearts.We are dumbfounded with grief and pray that all the families will recieve comfort and strength for the days ahead.Specially for all of you we give you Isaiah 40:31 Pano & Rina Nicolopulos

  • Stephanus - 2011-08-16 18:25

    May the Family and Friends of the deceased take refuge in GOD, for in your sad hour HE is the only ONE who knows what had happened and why?. My sincere condolences and prayers for everyone affected by this tragedy. Fanie Lindenberg

  • Stephanus - 2011-08-16 18:29

    May the Family & Friends of the deceased take refuge in GOD. HE is the only ONE that knows what had happened and why. My sincere condolences and Prayers are with everyone affected by this sad tragedy.

  • Tyson - 2011-08-16 19:17

    Rest In Peace Stuart van Oldenborgh (Smiley) and his dad Peter van Oldenborgh.

  • griffin main - 2011-08-16 21:04

    Sincere condolences to the families of those I know and to those I don't, such a tragic loss, I have a heavy heart today. May they rest in peace

  • griffin main - 2011-08-16 21:07

    Our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those we know and to those we don't, what a tragic loss. We are so saddened by the loss of friends, may they rest in peace.

  • Rudeman - 2011-08-17 11:40

    I whish these reporters will get there facts straight. Yesterday Erika Gibson reported the aircraft 120 km East of Tzaneen, THIS IS IN MOZAMBIQUE ALMOST. This report says :NORTH EAST OFF TZANEEN. The crash was 40 km South West of Tzaneen towards JHB.

  • Guim - 2011-08-18 00:14

    This was really extremely bad news for the RSA aviation enthusiasts and I wish to extend my condolences to the family and friends of those who perish in this tragic accident. It is reported that it may take a considerable time period for the investigation to be completed, but there is conjecture and speculation that this accident may have been caused by pilot error... as difficult as it may be to accept. Please see the commentary on:

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