Plane crashes: 13 victims named

2011-08-16 16:22

Johannesburg - The bodies of the 13 victims of the Tzaneen plane crash tragedy, will be flown to Pretoria on Wednesday for post-mortems to be conducted, Limpopo police said.

"Their bodies will be flown to forensics and pathology in Pretoria, with assistance from the South African National Defence Force," said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

The deceased, including two children, were found on Tuesday morning among the wreckage of two Albatross aircraft that crashed on Mamotswiri Peak.

Both planes took off from Tzaneen Airport on Sunday at 10:30, bound for Rand Airport in Johannesburg, after participating in an air show.

The aircraft were then reported missing at 13:30 on the same day.

Cops found crash site

Search and Rescue SA spokesperson Johnny Smit said the crash site was discovered by a police helicopter at 08:15 on Tuesday. Bad weather and low cloud conditions initially hampered the search on Monday.

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.

Their ages were not immediately available.

Families have since been informed about the deaths, but have not yet identified the victims, Mulaudzi said.

"They are receiving trauma counselling."

Aircraft caught fire after crashing

A crisis centre has also been set up at Rand Airport.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said investigations into the crash have commenced.

Spokesperson Phindiwe Gwebu said so far, indications are that the two aircraft carrying six and seven passengers respectively, caught fire after crashing.

"Investigators will now begin collecting what is needed from the wreckage," she said.

That will then be taken for testing and the authority would also check on the validity of the pilots flying the aircraft.

Investigations could take from six months to a year but a preliminary report could be made before then.

Mopani District municipal mayor Joshua Matlou said earlier that the planes were flying in formation when they crashed at an altitude of 1 570m.

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

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

Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele thanked search and rescue teams, as well as volunteers involved in the search and rescue operation.

  • Lyn - 2011-08-16 16:43

    This is just too awful. I can't stop thinking about it, especially the children. I pray that it was quick. RIP and my thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends.

      Mikemcc - 2011-08-16 17:22

      Being part of the aviation fraternity as well I can say I understand where you are coming from. The death of the kids has also played on my mind frequently. Not that we will ever know for sure but I draw comfort from the fact that there is a good chance that the passengers would not have been aware of a thing.

  • Scotsman - 2011-08-16 16:45

    Please try and make a sensible comment,or keep off this system.

      Elvira - 2011-08-17 10:07

      Dear Scotsman, Everyone is entitled to express their feelings the way that they want to or ask questions the way that they want to, this is each person's way of handling trauma. Have respect. Do not read.

      Daemos1 - 2011-08-17 13:40

      I was going to say something about Hansie, but you stopped me

  • John Galt - 2011-08-16 16:46

    When is Minister "Pothole" Ndebele going to get the Aviation Safety Investigation Board established so that these accidents can be properly investigated? He has been dragging his feet for nearly two years now.

  • ngt.c7 - 2011-08-16 17:37

    My Deepest Sympathies to Families & Friends

  • jacqueseng - 2011-08-16 17:44

    There were kids on board :-( We had a holiday house on ebenezer dam which is underneath "wolk berg" ( some fancy new more politically correct name for the mountain is described on other news channels) which is where the aircraft crashed, sure the pilots knew that was a hilly terrain , Im kinda shocked they didn't know to clear a certain altitude to be safe. Anyway , my heart goes out to the families affected by this. It's horrible. !!

  • - 2011-08-16 18:29

    So sad. Condolences to family and friends.

  • Johan - 2011-08-16 19:12

    " we should bear one thing in mind when we talk about an airman who has been killed in a flying accident. He was confronted with a situation the likes of which he has never seen before. He called upon all his skills and knowledge and made a judgement. He believed in it so strongly that he bet his life on it. That he was mistaken in his judgement was a tragedy and not a stupidity. Every superior and contemporary had an opportunity to influence that judgement. So when he went wrong all of us went wrong with him, and when he died a part of us died with him" (author unknown)

  • Tyson - 2011-08-16 19:14

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

      FIGHT4FAIRSA - 2011-08-17 12:54

      Yep, as long as we remember the smiles now. Very sad and awful news! RIP

  • PetervdLinden - 2011-08-16 19:31

    Absolutely awefull - a huge tragedy for the families as well as SA Aviation. Our condolences to those that have suffered this loss.

      Alan - 2011-08-17 16:44

      i take my hat off to all those who are involved with such a disaster and the loss of lives and give my condolances to those families who suffered the loss of the loved ones and i speak from so many peoples hearts all the way around the world including the ok where i live

  • Ivan - 2011-08-16 20:00

    Please HUMANKIND .... please keep you absolute pathetic comments to your self ..... I guess that you are not " windgat " by saying this ... well done you dumb box !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ivan - 2011-08-16 20:08

    To all the families that suffered this horrifying ordeal , please accept our deepest condolences Ivan , Odette and family.

  • Deon - 2011-08-16 20:10

    This is sad news ! Isn't it time that GPS tracking technology is used on all aircraft. Make it mandatory. All aircraft should have a tracking device installed, which reports back to a central system via satelite at all times. Why should people search for hours when time is of the essence, and when it comes to possibly saving a live. My condolences to the families of these people. It is a truly a tragedy.

      Bra Pat - 2011-08-17 10:45

      its true all cars made compulsury by the insurence company why not them. might find that some people died of cold

  • Raymond - 2011-08-16 20:43

    Tragic,heartbreaking and sad.My sincere condolences to the families and friends.Words alone cannot comfort the emotional pain,but I wish them strength to carry on.

  • Johan - 2011-08-16 20:54

    " We should bear one thing in mind when we talk about an airman who has been killed in a flying accident. He was confronted with a situation the likes of which he has never seen before. He called upon all his skills and knowledge and made a judgement. He believed in it so strongly that he bet his life on it. That he was mistaken in his judgement is a tragedy and not stupidity. Every superior and comtemporary had an opportunity to influence that judgement. So when he went wrong all of us went wrong with him, and when he died a part of us died with him." (author unknown)

  • Joe - 2011-08-16 23:22

    This accident is a symptom, the root cause of which is the CAA in SA being a mickey-mouse organization. South Africa lags SO far behind the rest of civilized aviation with regards to navigational tools, like GOOD, ACCURATE CHARTS and automated weather reporting systems. The blood of the victims is on the hands of the clowns at the CAA.

  • Aidan - 2011-08-17 00:02

    my name is Aidan Graham from Johannesburg and go the the school of stuart (St Andrews College) Stuart van Oldenburg was a very good friend of mine and yet we did not know a lot about each other he was kind,funny,cool,smart and good at all computer games i only wish that we could have been closer and now i know to make ever second count with people that u love to his family i wish u the best and i am sorry for your loss well it a loss for all of us

      michaelp1 - 2011-08-17 09:01

      Well done Aidan - what you have posted here is so true. You put into perspective what a lot of older (and supposedly wiser) people have to say on some of the sites with regard to this story.

      FIGHT4FAIRSA - 2011-08-17 13:02

      Also remember Stu from his days at St Peter's Prep - what a lovely chap...really his own person and very bright.His brother and Mum will have a massive gap in their lives - our thoughts and prayers are with them and other families who have lost their loved ones.

      Aidan - 2011-08-18 02:25

      hey guys thx for the comments and did you know them ???

  • Theresa - 2011-08-17 05:36

    Olivia - Your comment is relevant how???????? - Bet you will feel different if your family were on one of the planes... My heartfelt sympathy to everyone affected by this tragedy. - Perth Australia

  • Theresa - 2011-08-17 05:38

    Olivia - your comment is relevant how???? Maybe if you had family on one of the planes you would feel different. I pray for everyone involved in this tragedy.

  • Els01 - 2011-08-17 07:35

    this is a sad time indeed. the whole nation is touched and saddened about the accident. may this be a lesson for our aviation authorities and Pilots that, we need to do something urgent to ensure the safety of all those who use planes daily. This is a national disaster and will forever be etched in the memories of all South Africans. Let's mourn, learn and stratergise to make flying even more safer. Condolences to the bereaved families.

  • deemary - 2011-08-17 08:47

    @jacqueseng.....the highest peak of the Wolkberg has been called Mamatswiri for centuries. My son hiked it with his Haenertsburg, Magoebaskloof,Ofcolaco and Tzaneen friends 30 years ago. The Wolkberg is dense and usually covered with 'wolke' so visibilty must have been nil. RIP to all of them and may their families be comforted.

  • jenny.nell - 2011-08-17 17:11

    This is indeed soooooo sad. And what makes it more sad to me, is that aviation is my dad's life and about a month ago he released a DVD about flying in adverse weather conditions where he specifically discuss these type of accidents. I wish everyone can see the DVD, to know how to avoid this in the future. Learning from other's mistakes is obviously the only good thing that can come from this!

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