New claims on infamous Helderberg crash

2011-07-20 12:01

Cape Town - An ex-SAA pilot has claimed to have crucial information which could shed light on what happened in the November 1987 Helderberg plane crash, EWN reported on Monday.

The Boeing aircraft crashed near Mauritius, killing all 159 passengers and crew, after a fire started on board the aircraft.

The crucial ZUR tapes recording communication with the aircraft famously went missing or were recorded over following the crash.

EWN reported that a retired pilot, Clair Fichardt, said a now deceased colleague at SAA, James Deale, confessed to him that he was ordered to give the ZUR tapes to the airline’s director of operations Mickey Mitchell in the presence of the CEO Gert van der Veer.

David Klatzow, an apparent Helderberg expert, was quoted as saying that this resolved the question of what happened to the tapes.

'Final piece of the jigsaw'

“It puts the final piece of the jigsaw into exactly what happened because we always knew that Mickey Mitchell had given that on to Gert van der Veer and this now makes it beyond doubt,” he said.

Van der Veer did not confirm or deny to the TRC that he had received the tapes and has not commented on the latest claim.

Several veteran SAA pilots said Fichardt’s claim must be examined carefully because he may have a vendetta against the airline and that it came just three weeks after Mitchell’s death.

A 2001 Scorpions investigation detailed pieces of conversation from the cockpit voice recorder such as "real big problem yeah, big problem, very difficult" and "we fly in their bomb".

Allegations were made in the media that the term "Boy George", which was also mentioned, referred to a nuclear bomb, but the Scorpions said this was not necessarily true.

  • MWF - 2011-07-20 12:14

    Conveniently the dude is dead and cannot confirm this. More he-said, she-said BS.

      Dilika - 2011-07-20 12:41

      Absolutely. After Judge Cecil Margo died we heard about "more revelations" which got nowhere. So when Van der Veer dies there will be "more revelations".

      Kappie - 2011-07-20 12:41

      ever thought he could have waited to try and protect his friend from the media, and any sort of unwanted attention for the friend..... just a thought

      preshengovender69 - 2011-07-21 10:02

      They should consult with John Edward to get information from the dead dude

  • Monsterz - 2011-07-20 12:22

    Any fool knows it was carrying rocket fuel, and if SAA had done an emergency landing this would have blown their cover, resulting in the demise of the whole fleet, as no country would ever grant them landing rights again.

      Made_In_SA - 2011-07-20 12:35


      Rod - 2011-07-20 12:40

      Where in goodnes name do you get your facts from.

      2012 - 2011-07-20 12:44

      Apparently...when the aircraft was taxing out of Taiwan, it already had a fire extinguished earlier.....Now according to aviation law..the plane was not allowed to depart until inspected....But this would have revealed the illegal they just departed....the Plane was doomed from departure.....the fires broke out again.....! This is a direct result of the embargo...and the guilty party is the Apartheid Government!! They really did screw up our lives!!!!

      hertzel - 2011-07-20 12:50

      monsterz is spot-on.....there were 2 fires..the first [ 2 hours into the flight ] from fireworks whereupon the Pilots were refused permission by SAA to return to their departure airport as they were carrying " contraband "

      Ann - 2011-07-20 12:51

      @ Rod - perhaps you should listen to 702 - you might learn something. The noose is tightening!

      Freddie - 2011-07-20 13:01

      So the crew all committed suicide for the sake of apartheid! A likely story.

      Monsterz - 2011-07-20 13:09

      Unfortunately Red, that tape will never be recovered. It cant be. It will put SAA out of business.

      Rod - 2011-07-20 13:45

      Ann, So you believe all that 702 says. After watching the story on discovery which seemed to cover all angles I cannot see where rocket fuel could come into the picture

      Monsterz - 2011-07-20 14:06

      Red, the rocket fuel was red granules, placed in fish tanks, so it would look live sand. Dont you read anything???? its common knowledge, read the report. I could tell you more.....

      Ann - 2011-07-20 14:12

      @ myancmyfuture - you clearly didn't know that Willie Hoffmeyr was jailed a number of times for his allegiance to the ANC - you too only saw him as another white man who is out to get the corruption in our government sorted out. I still think you should get to know more about your "glorious" ANC, because you clearly do not know it's history to be able to comment thereon!!

      Kleinboetsê - 2011-07-20 16:33

      Why Rocket fuel? We've been making our own rocket proppelant for years!

      Grazy - 2011-07-20 17:20

      Monsterz, "Red, the rocket fuel was red granules, placed in fish tanks, so it would look live sand." Does that ring the "red Mercury" bell. ?? :-) Never forget the red mercury. Let's have more fun. :-)

      Duncan - 2011-07-20 18:53

      Ja Monsterz. You've been reading too many conspiracy theories and inhaling aviation fuel. Sasol could manufacture rocket fuel from the early seventies and still can. There's no such thing as 'red mercury' and fish tanks aren't sold with the sand already in... Twit

      AJ - 2011-07-21 01:23

      @Duncan - dynamite is also not sold already lit. People intervene to create dangerous situations. Exactly what the substance was, how it got on board,or how it exactly became unstable and brought down a plane is immaterial. The important thing to note is something dodgy was going on there, there can be no doubt of that.

      Liberty - 2011-07-21 09:05

      @Rod SA faught the border war during that time and we had no effective air defenses against the Migs and we in fact had lost air superiority. The SADF were trying to deploy rockets, and we had the nuclear programme going at that time. And with the arms embargo against SA in full force dangerous substances had to be imported on a clandestine basis, that is using passenger jets for that purpose. The apartheid government clearly stopped at nothing to hide the truth from us. So thank your apartheid government, SAA and Armscor in particular for that accident.

  • The Third Wors - 2011-07-20 12:24

    Red mercury, eh?

      johnwilliam.roberts - 2011-07-20 12:39

      no it was stuff for pelindaba .

      SaintBruce - 2011-07-20 15:54

      I viewed the photographs of the Helderberg wreck under water at SAA technical and my impression was that they experienced a metallic oxide fire (unknown which one) that burned through the upper fuselage of the 747 Combi from a storage unit until it reached the tail and the power generator. Each cargo container has about 19m3 storage and one 2.5 kg BCF fire extinguisher could put out a fire (A, B or C class) is such a space. However ALL the fire equipment was used up in the attempt to control the fire but failed so my opinion is that the material burning had it's own oxygen source. A substance of this type is still banned by IATA for air transport. All those people died for political reasons so both SAA and the Government are liable for huge compensation claims (the Government inherits the assets and the liabilities of the previous regime I suspect) hence the fudged TRC hearings. I consulted on the incident due to my background in fire fighting and marketing of fire fighting chemicals in the 80's.( in case readers want to know how I know what I know) Stuff for Pelindaba - is probably closer to the truth, but what substance needing a specialised utectic fire fighting product could it have been? The Helderberg is SA's 'JFK' incident - who will own up?

      Carl Muller - 2011-07-20 16:56

      Apparently yes..

      Grazy - 2011-07-20 17:22

      johnwilliam.roberts, Pelindaba and Valindaba build nuclear bombs, not rockets.

  • myancmyfutur - 2011-07-20 12:34

    I hope Julius will not be blamed for this, He was 5 at the time.

      Kappie - 2011-07-20 12:43

      ????????????????????? who's the idiot now, what the hell dis gotta do with him?

      Ann - 2011-07-20 12:54

      @ myancmyfutur - perhaps you should think of changing your allegiance because currently you do not know much about the history of your beloved ANC and the young Malema that has all of you fooled whilst he lines his pockets very well with as much money as he can!

      myancmyfutur - 2011-07-20 13:13

      @Chris.debeer1, now we agree for a change. @Ann, Who said our President should not make money on the side, and He is not obliged to declare to the DA on His extra income. I dont know what do you mean when you say I don't know the history of our glorious movement.

      Azizi - 2011-07-20 14:25

      Kappie do you a problem with your front teeth? Missing maybe????????????????????????

      DW - 2011-07-20 14:50

      troll. Dont feed him

      papio - 2011-07-20 21:30

      he is still 5!

      Liberty - 2011-07-21 09:11

      @myancfutur this one was clearly apartheid's fault. For a change we can find something real to blame on the apartheid government. But it doesn't get your beloved juju off the hook.

  • Made_In_SA - 2011-07-20 12:35

    Read Klatzows Book Steeped in Blood... it explains the whole UNBIASED story, on this and a few other tasty SA incidents... amazing what is kept from the public.

      Freddie - 2011-07-20 12:54

      Unbiased??? Klatzow didn't want to make money from the sales of his book then? Off course he was biased.

      jeremy - 2011-07-20 13:12

      Freddie, I know David Klatzow. He's one of the country's best forensic pathologists - and his aim is to get at the truth. If it weren't for his continuing efforts over the past 20 years we'd know a lot less about the Helderberg than we do now. As other correspondents have stated, the apartheid government covered the whole thing up because it was very definitely using the Helderberg to carry dangerous stuff. The present government is covering up because it doesn't want to lat SAA open to huge claims from family of the 159 people who died....

      Freddie - 2011-07-20 16:54

      @Jeremy, If all you say is true, it is in no way indicative that he does not have a financial interest in selling his books. If he has a financial interest, by definition, he is biased.

      Duncan - 2011-07-20 18:56

      @ jeremy: The statute of limitations is 20 years fool. No possible claim could be made after 2008 and good luck trying to prove this absolute cr@p before any court

      Jaja - 2011-07-20 19:43

      You should not believe everything the dear dr writes!!!

      sylviawalker - 2011-07-23 08:29

      Of course its about money. What is this recent "revelation" about then? These things are timed and some people are experts at working the media to their advantage.

  • Ann - 2011-07-20 12:48

    Very interesting - even Dr David Klatzow has confirmed that a lot more adds up now. Hope he gets to the bottom of it, because there are a number of people who have lost love ones and never known the actual reason why. It seems there was a cover-up by the previous government and this one also would prefer for the truth to come out - however they both have distinctly different reasons for this attitude.

      Zion - 2011-07-20 15:22

      It seems that most of the people concerned with the incident are dead. So if the "truth" comes out will it still be the truth. Dead men cannot lie or be in the position to tell the truth. So the truth may just be more speculation.

      Staffinity - 2011-07-20 20:08

      all he has to do is speak to some old SAA of our old friends who was an SAA pilot at the time said that he knew it was a cover up. he was not allowed to say more.

      sylviawalker - 2011-07-23 08:31

      Sometimes its better to look forward in life, as opposed to always loooking back and blaming someone. It never helps healing to keep living in the past. Life is full of curveballs - sometimes its better just to move on, and I hope that all they families have.

  • Freddie - 2011-07-20 12:59

    The timing of this 'revelation' and the recent death of Mickey Mitchell, and the consequential inability for him to testify is nothing but a coincidence is it? Too many quotes and lack of denial from dead men for credibility.

  • Audacious12 - 2011-07-20 13:16

    Does anyone remember a story in the Saturday Cape Times (Cape Town) about an America sattelite picking up what looked like a nuclear explosion in the Kalahari in the early 70s?

      Snys - 2011-07-20 13:26

      Maybe Julius with his torch!

      mossel - 2011-07-20 13:35

      YES...... Read the book HOW SOUTH AFRICA MADE 6 ATOM BOMBS.

      Freddy - 2011-07-20 13:41

      If you're referring to the Vela incident, it took place in the very late 70's (might even be 1980) in the South Atlantic. Conspiracy theorists say the SA and and Israeli governments were in cahoots testing a nuclear device, but the US government couldn't confirm whether it was a nuclear flash or a meteoroid. Cloak and dagger stuff

      Pupuzela - 2011-07-20 14:09

      There was never a nuclear explosion in the Kalahari. An explosion happened (in the '70's) a few hunderd kilometres off-shore from SA in the Atlantic, and because of the unique double-light signature an atom blast gives off, was picked up by an American satellite. We (SA) denied any involvement in it. I personally believed it was us. The Russians picked up (by satellite) a planned sub-terranean test site north of Upington, called Vastrap, informed the Americans and they made the SA government fill the 385m & 216m deep shafts with concrete, or else...

      Teppic - 2011-07-20 14:14

      Pik Botha confirmed during an SAFM interview about a year ago that the Vela incident was SA testing an atomic bomb in the South Atlantic. The bomb was an Israeli derived design.

      mal.emmer - 2011-07-20 14:59

      The Kalahari Nuke is described in "The Covenant Stone by Ramsden" available on Amazon e-books (Kindle Books). No guessing why it will not be published in RSA. Guess who recently had a birthday and was brought from the Island to be shown the bomb just before the detonation - to prove the superiority of the Nats if it came to a fight. Guess who else visited the nuke site and what was placed in the pit in which the nuke was placed. Guess which country supplied the detonation device and what was swopped for it. Guess how it links to the Arms deal corruption. Very very eerie.

      Zion - 2011-07-20 15:24

      mossel, those 6 bombs were dismantled and is ancient news.

      Grazy - 2011-07-20 17:27

      Zion, No, the right wingers got hold of it and they store 3 in an old mineshaft under Soweto, and the other 3 under Tembisa.

      Zion - 2011-07-21 06:30

      Grazy, Man you really made my day. Nuke bombs under Soweto. You sure do have a fine sense of humour.

  • mossel - 2011-07-20 13:36

    Read the book....HOW SOUTH AFRICA MADE 6 ATOM BOMBS...... very very interesting reading.There the author also mentions the heldeberg plane crash.

  • Keith3663 - 2011-07-20 13:42

    What was another pilot doing with the tapes? Come on ... lets be serious now?

      montecristo - 2011-07-20 14:20

      He was Chief Pilot.

  • Ria - 2011-07-20 13:43

    Maybee finaly we will hear the truth after 24 years. I just hope that whoever decided to transport whatever was on the Helderberg which took the life of my two son's father rots in hell.

      Harry1 - 2011-07-20 13:55

      Forgive them Ria. It will set you free. The liars have blood on their hands, don't let their misdeeds ruin your life.

      Staffinity - 2011-07-20 20:15

      yes. forgive and dont forget.they will be judged one day for their eveil deeds. Leave it to God

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 05:11

      Ria, Harry's right. If you're still bitter after 24 years then you're harming yourself. I doubt if the truth will ever come out. The missing tapes will have been destroyed, people involved will die off.

  • nvl - 2011-07-20 13:57

    One word: Sabotage!

  • nvl - 2011-07-20 13:59

    One word: Sabotage!

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 05:13

      You've repeated yourself so that's two words ;-)

  • Kapnschtaten - 2011-07-20 14:00

    "Our glorius movement" HA a glorius bowel movement maybe......

  • montecristo - 2011-07-20 14:16

    This is true - ask Roger Makings - he was the aviation correspondent for Sunday Times at that time and divulged this information one night in London when highly drunk and incensed. Catch VD Veer, before he dies too.

      montecristo - 2011-07-20 14:22

      He covered the discovery of the Helderberg. The person who was initially responsible for the tapes was immediately posted to Argentina, where SAA was not flying to at the time - but had an office there.

      Duncan - 2011-07-20 19:00

      I'll say it again: S-T-A-T-U-T-E of L-I-M-I-T-A-T-I-O-N-S. Look both words up. You can't bring a criminal charge after 20 years. December 2008 was almost three years ago. What part of this don't you get? Nobody can be sued, nobody is in danger financially. The only place where a deep, dark secret exists is in your heads

      Mr Incognito - 2011-07-20 19:47

      Duncan: How is the American Statute of Limitations suddenly part of our law? Too much Alley McBiel?

      AJ - 2011-07-21 01:32

      @Duncan, it is about getting at the truth - so stop harping on about statues of limitations etc and/or punishment. I think most of us understand there will be no consequences for those involved, but that does not mean we dont want to know what happened.

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 05:28

      Duncan, I'm not sure whether the statute of limitations applies here (even in America it has its limitations). No, more to the point is that it is now impossible to prove what realy happened.

      montecristo - 2011-07-21 10:23

      Duncan, don't be ignorant; no such thing for serious offences. So all those rapes and murders that you committed when still a young man are going to catch up with you ...

  • Rygar - 2011-07-20 14:52

    I know someone who knows the pilots wife and it’s not conspiracy theories its fact, it’s a huge cover up else SAA and insurance companies will go bankrupt from all the claims, Uys was being forced to carry dangerous cargo else he would lose his pension and probably stripped of his wings.

      nvl - 2011-07-20 15:28

      Not so, SA was under arms embargo and fought a war against the commies or their so-called invisible enemies..stupid idiots decided to smuggle weapons on a passenger plain, sad as it is.. I guess they had no other choice. I am not defending them just stating a fact.

      Carl Muller - 2011-07-20 16:57

      They flew red mercury..... Pilot was forced to take it on board....

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 05:46

      @ Carl Muller. Most experts say that red mercury does not exist.

  • Jannie Swem - 2011-07-20 15:06

    There were fires on board, the pilots were not allowed to turn back or land anywhere else (this would have exposed the cargo), the fires were caused by a special rocket fuel, smuggled with the help of SAA in their planes. now all you cynics out there, please explain to me how the hell SA built 6 atomic bombs, missles, and orther artillery during an arms sure they didnt move components via Sea or by land...Then also ask yourself Why SAA used Boeing 747 SuperBs (Combi)(the helderberg was one of them) the reason was they could carry cargo on passenger flights, killing two birds with one stone....cargo on passenger planes would have been easier to "jippo" at the time is my assumption. Oh and we did detonate that bomb in the sea. Mr Mandela officially disarmed our nuclear warheads in the late 90's after signing the treaty.

      Jannie Swem - 2011-07-20 15:34

      the pilots mindests were probably that of the fact that the country was at war, which it was, and the orders were of a military nature not to land the plane in any other territory other than South Africa. terrible if you think of it, they were on a burning aerie and knew if they landed the craft, they would probably never see their families again, rotting in a prison somewhere. SAA was not permitted to land in many countries let alone fly into their airpsace, they were only allowed to fly in international airpspace, they also had direct radio contact with Jan Smuts at all times, due to the fact that they would have times, where there was no contact with the atc;s in the regions. The tapes containing the communication over this radio link is what went missing.. the direct instructions from Jan Smuts. Cockpit voice recorders unfortunately looped, and the voice recordings we hear today, were the recordings only 1 hour into the flight. The rest? gone, I would imagine why, since the cockpit voice recordings were sent to the US for "analysis" and gues who backed SA silently in the war against "russia" you guessed it Mr Ronald Reagan. The recovery operation of the heidleberg wreck was UNPRECEDENTED, never before had so much money been spent, by Boeing and a Government to retreive the black boxes, why? There was too much to hide it had implications for both the South African and US governements, and of course the airline whihc was a Boeing customer.

      OomBiltong - 2011-07-20 16:48

      Jannie - it was FW de Klerk who anounced the disarming and dismantling of the 22 nuclear weapons in SA's arsenal. This was just before the 1994 elections and done to prevent them falling into the hands of the 'new' government which was sure to come to power.

      Duncan - 2011-07-20 19:04

      Since when is rocket fuel a component of an atom bomb? An atom bomb delivery mechanism, yes. We could make our own so why bring it in from non-nuclear Taiwan and risk it being picked up by satellite? " my assumption" is about right.

      Duncan - 2011-07-20 19:07

      Jannie, I just read some more of your twaddle. You're that guy who believes the Americans have a secret base underneath the West Rand aren't you? Your rambling sounded familiar!

      Staffinity - 2011-07-20 20:21

      dont forget, it may not have been rocket fuel, but some radioactive component that maybe went into meltdown.once it starts it cant really be stopped.but i dont much about that stuff and dont shout me down here, can that stuff heat up in a couple of hours and burn through metals in a short time??

      Roman Moroni - 2011-07-21 08:58

      Those bombs were dismantled before the transfer of power (between 88 and 92 some time). We did not have missiles but would have needed to drop them from planes like they did in WWII over Japan. Best guess is then a radio-active substance that overheated and started burning - and yes it could burn through its enclosure in a few hours.

  • Neil - 2011-07-20 15:17

    I had a friend whose mother was on this flight...Why cant they admit what happened and give the familes peace of mind now ?

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 05:56

      It would cost SAA and the government too much paying compensations.

  • Zion - 2011-07-20 15:18

    It will not take a prophet to predict that within the short term future there are will be very many claims and fingers pointed to the old regime. That has become apparent with the latest charge that the apartheid regime embezzled so many billions. The present government is absolutely corrupt and that corruption is committed openly and stupidly. So in order to exonerate themselves it is convenient to shift the blame to the apartheid regime as was the case with the death of Samora Machel. Kamma a missile.

      Jannie Swem - 2011-07-20 16:33

      one big difference they didn't enrich themselves. they embezzeled to improve the country from a white perspective and fund a war and defence systems. i dont see any Multimillionaire Old regime leaders. Pik botha lives humbly today, adn even in his "heyday" he drove himself around and didnt make use of convoys...and even payed his speeding fines..

  • Marcus Westin - 2011-07-20 16:08

    SAA would never want the truth about the Helderberg disaster be revealed. As it will result in massive insurance claims and payouts that will bankrupt the airline. It is without a doubt that there were major cover ups to protect the government and airline. Its interesting that so many individuals close to the incident and investigation has died. And the truth obviously died with them. But I bet that there are still people in this country who knows what really happened - if they can just come forward. Let the Helderberg mystery be solved for good and give some peace and closure to those families affected by it.

      Jannie Swem - 2011-07-20 16:19

      you are right SAA is bankrupt as it is, and who is the biggest shareholder? ANC dont want to pay damages to white folk that died on a plane, who were killed by their own government. Go figure. They probably had a good chuckle regadring this one.

      nvl - 2011-07-20 17:05

      Totally agree with you Marcus, apart from that what you have said I also see dirty politics written all over this tragedy... my question is how did the fires start in the first place?? Definitely not by themselves!!

      2Nations - 2011-07-21 01:05

      WHY would there be people who know "more"? Maybe they worked on top secret military/defense projects at the time? Maybe they all signed documents that would incur decades in prison if secrets were leaked? Regular South Africans - as most other nationalities - would be knocked on their asses if they knew what their tax money pays for in terms of TOP SECRET military projects, the ways and means of getting technology and materials in hand and the tests sites...! Many on this message board assume correct: a big "red" cover up has been perpetrated with the Helderberg incident. Believe me, James Bond has nothing on what was going on in the 80's and 90's...

  • Jannie Swem - 2011-07-20 16:50

    @ oom my humble apologies for my historical error.

  • Carl Muller - 2011-07-20 16:55

    Apparently the pilot was threatened to fly with red mercury that was very unstable. He had to take it on the plane or never get a job again.... Hew took the job and lost his life....

      nvl - 2011-07-20 17:43

      Red mercury doesn't exist dude. Take a bogus material, give it an enigmatic name, exaggerate its physical properties and intended uses, mix in some human greed and intrigue, and voila: one half-baked scam.

  • POLLENYS - 2011-07-20 17:19

    @ Jannie Swem "one big difference they didn't enrich themselves. they embezzeled to improve the country from a white perspective and fund a war and defence systems" -------- My belief was well. There were no selfenriching. Hunting trips with Army vehicles and choppers was just about it. You had newspapers like the long-defunct Rand Daily Mail and Stanley Uys of the Sunday Times. They went out of their way to expose any thread of corruption by the NP and got nowhere. What was exposed was the Info Scandal of the late '70's.

  • Nicki - 2011-07-20 17:51

    I lost one of my best friends in this "accident". It's about time her family heard the facts and recieved a genuine apology!!!!! I'm still sickened by the entire thing!!!!!

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 06:11

      Do you believe that the families of the victims would be satisfied with an apology? Noways! They would demand millions in compensation which the long suffering tax-payer would have to pay.

  • Kaltie - 2011-07-20 18:28

    What made anyone think that the truth would feature in a country that is corrupt from top to bottom? What makes the international world still invest in a country whose leaders steal and/or waste every available source of money?

  • jjacgilbert - 2011-07-20 19:40

    What happened to the the Smit's, why were they murdered? I remember the strange message written with their own blood on the wall of their house?

      grant9 - 2011-07-21 06:16

      I'm intrigued. Who were the Smits and what was the message?

  • Wolff - 2011-07-20 20:06

    Ask Pik Botha, he might know more than he is prepared to say. On the other hand, everytime he opens his mouth he talks kak.

      Jannie Swem - 2011-07-21 15:57

      he does know more, and how would you subtantiate that Pik talks kak? were you there?

  • AJ - 2011-07-21 01:20

    I think any rational person can conclude that the case of the Helderberg was that of a commercial airliner being forced to carry extremely dangerous materials that directly contributed to the crash and the deaths of all those on board. We may not have all the facts at our disposal, but that is no reason to blatantly excuse the obvious 'hands at work' that were involved here.

  • Spookman - 2011-07-21 07:49

    David klutskop

  • Agent Rascal - 2011-07-21 08:07

    Probably and might have been no fowl play here! Its possible , many many airlines have gone down all over the world from fire issues. Another conspiracy.!

  • Nicky - 2011-07-21 08:08

    Its easy for people who did not have loved ones on the helderberg to tell us people to just let go. Put yourself in my shoes, wouldnt you want to know what happened to your father? I was 5 when this happened and never knew my father. No grant9 most of us are not interested in making money we just want to know what happened, well I know I want to.

      enema_malema - 2011-07-21 21:43

      Nicky, there are people out there, still very much alive, and still enjoying the benefits of complying with the situation of the day, back in the 80's. Please know they live with this every night they get into bed, they have to live with their lies. Just know it is eating them from the inside. My only hope is that people involved will come forward and do what is right, for people like you who have lost dearest ones in this tragic event. Vg, do what is right, put these people at rest, its the right thing to do.

  • Kunikos - 2011-07-21 08:38

    A fire occurred, the plane crashed, people died. Happened before, will happen again. Nothing to the contrary was ever proven despite attention hungry Klatzows claims and one of the longest and deepest witch hunts in South African aviation history. OomBiltong, South Africa had six nuclear weapons not twenty-two.

      Nicky - 2011-07-21 09:58

      kunikos Lets assume that there is nothing suspicious about the helderberg.Answer me this then. Why as soon as the plane fell people from national intelligence arrived at Jana uys and told her to keep silence, why was her phone tapped and why was she followed for years afterwards. Why the morning of the crash was there people from SAA,ARMY,ARMSCOR and the airforce on the beach in mauritius?Why were the ZUR tapes never released to the MARGo Commision? you dont have just record over or destroy tapes that have that type of information on it.Why was the public told that the wreckage was destroyed?Its actually lying at the airport.You make it out as if nothing is wrong. There are too many questions and not enough answers

  • chris.kleynhans - 2011-07-21 09:33

    Doubt whether it was a nuclear bomb that exploded, there would be no debries or flight recorder left after such an explosion..

      TrickyDicky - 2011-07-21 14:24

      Anyone thought of a simple fire starter like matches, no, not safety matches, but the cowboy type, the type exported from Taiwan.....ignites easily, and is self-sustaining, i.e. needs no oxygen, almost impossible to exstinguish. Lets say about 10Kg, that is sure to make one big fire ???

      Jannie Swem - 2011-07-21 16:00

      Chris, the bomb we are referring to was the offshore nuclear test. the stuff that caught fire was a component of rocket fuel, for missles to be built and used in the border war.

      TrickyDicky - 2011-07-21 20:38

      Ag Jannie, get off this stupid nuclear theory before you tie yourself up in knots...

  • Jannie Swem - 2011-07-21 16:07

    Duncan - July 20, 2011 at 19:04 Report comment Since when is rocket fuel a component of an atom bomb? An atom bomb delivery mechanism, yes. We could make our own so why bring it in from non-nuclear Taiwan and risk it being picked up by satellite? " my assumption" is about right. "Duncan - The component of the rocket fuel was not neccesarily for a nuclear warhead.. denel built loads of weapons in the 80s... duh...

  • joan.e.bailie - 2011-07-21 20:13

    I had inside information, given on strict confidentiality to a senior lecturer at a well-known university. What the cargo manifesto did not disclose was that on board was a highly flammable chemical. The resulting fire would not have been extinguished by water. The chemical was imported by a chemical company in Natal. It was used mainly in submarines, and not manufactured locally at the time, hence the need to import it.

      TrickyDicky - 2011-07-21 20:30

      Ya all read my post earlier ??? BTW...what was the flashpoint of the "highly flammable chemical" Just to clarify, petrol is highly flammable, but with a high flashpoint...C4 is also highly flammable, but with a VERY low flashpoit, i.e. it ignites very easily ??? So, what was it??

  • Kiernan - 2011-08-04 10:32

    My mom died on this flight - its an absolute disgrace how SAA and our Government have tried for so long to keep this story a secret. what really happened???...

  • meresha.prestondevries - 2012-08-14 22:03

    My sister Fleur Strijdom was the Senior Flight Attendant on the Helderberg. My mother and I knew that there was bombs on that flight. How we know will not be believed because it was dicovered by unconventional means. I have no prove but know that there was more on that flight than what was told.

      richard.naraine.75 - 2013-02-17 20:42

      Hi I sent you an message. thank you

  • Johannes Jacobus Smith - 2013-08-18 15:09

    I find this whole conversation fascinating. I must be the only one that believes the government on this one. If they wanted to hide the truth why did they undertake the most expensive recovery/investigation in aviation history? They even had to have the control cable's for the remote sub-marine specially made since there were not long enough cables in the entire world to do the job. They could have just said "sorry to expensive"or"not possible" and no-one would be able to blame them any more than what they do now. Secondly, when ever something unexplained happen the situation is re-created. Eg the Mont Blanc Tunnel fire in Europe when a truck full of butter caught fire in the tunnel and 39 people died, the scenario was recreated. No one has ever tried to re-create what happened on this plane, with what the manifesto said was aboard. Until this is not done, scientifically, I will believe the governments official reports.

  • Paul JS - 2014-04-08 15:43

    The truth is in front of you. The lithium computer batteries were and are capable of spontaneous combustion, the sort that does not require oxygen to burn. These can combust in laptops - google that. A whole pallet load of these would have burnt like thermite. There was not clandestine cargo or terrorist attack. It was inappropriately stored and packaged lithium computer batteries that caused the fire.

  • Shiloh Noone - 2015-08-18 22:18

    Every twit knows they carried rocket fuel or liquid mercury whatever .. the pilot didn't want to fly and was told he would lose his job if he didn't take off. If they prove this SAA loses its licence for international flights ? ? ? ?

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