Planes clipped trees before crash

2011-09-21 22:40

Cape Town - Some "pre-impact marks" were found on tall trees after a twin aircraft crash outside Tzaneen, according to a preliminary SA Civil Aviation Authority report.

The aircraft were flying in formation and seen by a witness moments before disappearing into clouds, according to the report released on Wednesday.

They crashed in the Lekgalametse valley, northeast of Tzaneen on Sunday, August 14, claiming the lives of 13 people.

"The terrain where the second aircraft was found is a steep and slippery slope with huge outcropped rocks and lots of tall trees.

"A number of pre-impact marks were observed on top of the tall trees and part of the left-wing structure was found stuck on top of the tall trees."

The terrain where the leading aircraft was found was a steep slope with a number of outcropped rocks and several trees in the vicinity. No pre-impact damage to trees was observed near the wreckage of the first plane.

The Albatross planes took off from Tzaneen at about 10:30, bound for Rand Airport in Germiston.

"According to available information" the pilots were communicating with each other in the air. There was no evidence of any declaration of an emergency before the accident.

The aircraft were fitted with standard navigation and communication equipment, approved at the time of certification. No defects were entered against the equipment before the accidents, or during the flights.

The aircraft were not fitted with flight data recorders, cockpit voice recorders, or emergency locator transmitters. These were not required to be fitted on this type of aircraft by the applicable civil aviation regulations.

Both pilots had valid licences.

  • Voorvel - 2011-09-21 22:52

    SHAME. ONS HARTE IS SEER...............

      Linus - 2011-09-22 09:34

      This was flat out CFIT. Pilot error of the worst kind and 2 pilots at the same time is an amazing display of sheer stupidity. No flight planning at all. These guys were just plain vintgat - if they were'nt dead I am sure they would be charged with manslaughter for killing their poor passengers.

  • Joep - 2011-09-21 23:01

    Where they crashed is not north-east of Tzaneen but south east!

      komminsens - 2011-09-22 05:28

      More south WEST Joep

      Ace - 2011-09-22 06:27

      Joep, Tzaneen is North East of Johannesburg so komminsens tells us they were flying South West. lol

      CDawg - 2011-09-22 07:17

      Agreed... Some one at News24 needs to brush up on their cardinal navigation points!

  • Woofix - 2011-09-21 23:34

    May other S.A. pilots please learn out of this unbelievable uneccessary accident.

      Face - 2011-09-22 01:48

      May all New-Sa pilots please learn.

      Dries - 2011-09-22 08:52

      NO, not the new new pilots: may the old and similarly bold pilots learn from this absolutely preventable, "press on regardless" attitude. It seems that more and more pilots who SHOULD have known better and in fact DID know better still press on with an action which clearly has the more than probable outcome of an adverse event. I investigate many aviation mishaps and more and more fatal incidents show that pilots carry on against better judgement.

      GT - 2011-09-22 09:13

      100% Dries. Completely avoidable this one. 2 smart to follow the rules. Very sad for all on board.

  • G-MAN1 - 2011-09-21 23:48

    May god be with you all, Tragic

      Michael - 2011-09-22 08:43

      @G-Man1, whilst I share your sentiments please note that God has a capital "G".

  • Edgar - 2011-09-22 05:00

    Perhaps the Civil Aviation Regulations should be changed to enforce all aircraft with the capacity to carry more than 2 persons to be fitted with locators, data & voice recorders. Would this not be a simple solution? What are pilot views on this?

      Mikemcc - 2011-09-22 05:10

      The equipment you refer to is heavy and very expensive, this is not practical for the average light aircraft.

      Rudi Kay - 2011-09-22 06:42

      I would accept locators, but as Mikemcc stated, the equipment is extremely expensive, and adds to the weight of a light aircraft thereby diminishing their carrying capacity. - 2011-09-22 08:08

      how about the tracker devices that's put into cars, they are small and hidden away.....

      allie - 2011-09-22 08:16

      I would rather suggest a small radar system.Than there would not have been a necessity for the other equipment.

      Dries - 2011-09-22 08:54

      NO amount of expensive equipment would have prevented this tragedy. And the findings will be as easy as if these had been installed. AND such CVR is NOT heavy a FDR is expensive but not heavy.

      Mikemcc - 2011-09-22 09:34

      @Dries, you are correct on all counts. I mistakenly assumed that due to their robust nature the CVR and/or FDR units would be heavy. I see that there are units that weigh around 5kg. The expense however is still a major concern for general aviation as you pointed out.

      Victor - 2011-09-22 12:53

      @Edgar, this equipment will not prevent accidents like this, but only aid in finding the crash-site faster and determining what went wrong after the fact!

  • choppadrivah - 2011-09-22 06:15

    full prelimanary report can be found here

      Valkerie - 2011-09-22 09:47

      Thank you choppadrivah.

  • Agent Rascal - 2011-09-22 06:15

    I find it strange but so true, that pilots still find so much complacency in dangerous situations, especially when carrying pacs too!The weather for sure was the problem but there are low high grid mora charts available and these pilots should have taken note of terrain in that area and in fact the whole flight from Tzaneen back to Rand.They should have been at least 1500ft above the highest obstacle that day on that flight , but they were not and lives were lost unnecessarly, most of all other peoples children!If it was only one plane that went down its very questionable but two flying in formation and slamming into a mountain the way it did is rediculious pilot errors.

      Mike - 2011-09-22 06:27

      May the pilots were just trying to show off to their passangers, possibly saw Top Gun and thought how hard can it be !

      PrefabSprout - 2011-09-22 07:11

      Yes, I am in agreement. In the inclement weather planes should have been higher. Flight plans? Definetly pilot error X2.

  • Robbie - 2011-09-22 06:50

    Jeop,komminsens and ace Tzaneen areodrome is east of tzaneen and the aircraft were flying in a south westerly direction, the impact site IS south east (albeit closer to south of tzaneen check it out on google earth guys

  • Lisa - 2011-09-22 07:20

    Good news, hope that this will put the rumors to rest that the pilots licenses were not valid. Both pilots were highly experienced.

      Agent Rascal - 2011-09-22 07:30

      Reading your Grid mora charts properly and doing what they say is very different from having thousands of hours experience.

  • anticrime - 2011-09-22 07:32

    Pure pilot error, complacency etc. Did not prepare themselves properly for the flight - knowing their instrumentation limitations and adverse weather. Sad - but it happened and let this be a lesson to ALL pilots and Top Gunners

      allie - 2011-09-22 08:23

      I have been in such a situation.Best is to climb out of it in a tight circle and you`ll live to fly another day.Also never go under cloud in a mountanous area.AND ,OF COURSE,TRUST YOUR INSTRUMENTS

  • Mfundo - 2011-09-22 08:12

    Its clear, Im not ready to take any air transport.

  • Mfundo - 2011-09-22 08:13

    Was there enough fuel in those aircrafts?

      Valkerie - 2011-09-22 09:49

      Mfundo: I expect so yes - unused fuel also would account for the post-crash fire reported.

  • shrubber - 2011-09-22 08:22

    Is this discovery surprising ("Planes clipped trees before crash")? Or did they previously suspect that the aircraft had plummeted vertically into the ground?

      Mikemcc - 2011-09-22 09:38

      @shrubber, my understanding is that the initial finidings were that these aircraft impacted the side of the mountain directly. The new information may indicate that they were trying to outclimb the rising ground after coming into contact with the tree before the mountain.

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