Rain hampers search for missing planes

2011-08-16 07:16

Johannesburg - The search for two aircraft that went missing in George's Valley near Tzaneen resumed on Tuesday morning, despite rainy conditions, Limpopo police said.

"The weather has gone from bad to worse. It is raining and foggy," said police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

It was unclear how many hectares or kilometres the rescue team would have to cover, but Mulaudzi said a plan had been devised.

In an attempt to cover more ground, six teams would split up to hike along different sections of the route. Each team would have a dedicated helicopter assisting.

However, by 07:00 none of the helicopters had taken off due to the inclement weather. Mulaudzi said it was hoped that the helicopters would take to the skies later in the day, weather permitting.

Mulaudzi said the teams were "well-equipped" for the wet conditions.

13 people missing

The search was put on hold at 18:00 on Monday.

An Oryx helicopter from the South African Air Force was expected to join search efforts, said Mulaudzi.

It was raining in Tzaneen early on Tuesday morning as search and rescue personnel and family members arrived at the Mopani District Municipality Disaster Management Centre.

There was also a large media contingent waiting outside to hear any news.

The Albatross planes, with a total of 13 people on board, were presumed to have crashed in the George's Valley area, between Polokwane and Tzaneen, on Sunday.

Initially it had been reported that 12 people were aboard the two aircraft, but it has since been confirmed that it was 13 people.

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

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  • Taboo - 2011-08-16 07:32

    This must be terrible news for the families. I would be going off my rocker.

  • Janice - 2011-08-16 07:36

    What a tragic thing to happen It is terrible! Sympathies to all involved!

  • Travis Brown - 2011-08-16 07:45

    It’s my wife’s 2 nieces and uncle on one of the planes. The unknown is the hardest part to deal with. All we can do is wait around for the smallest bit of hope of some good news and pray for the safe return of all of them out there. To all those searching in this freezing weather and horrid terrain, THANK YOU!!!

      Carla Maria Bagorro Keen - 2011-08-16 08:23

      Hi, it's my husbands aunt & uncle there too, and there 2 nieces.... As u say the unknown is the worst... & the feeling of helplessness... All we are doing is PRAYING & trusting in the Lord... But.... VERY DIFFICULT - I know.... (Carla Keen)

      Yolande Kruger - 2011-08-16 08:33

      Hi Travis, i know the mom and dad who's 2 girls is on the plane. We pray for your family and for B and A to have strength and that there will be some good news soon. The news was devestating to all of us and i think constantly about them ! really sad!!

  • McDaNife - 2011-08-16 07:57

    Weather too is not in the rescuers favour. If some or any of them that are still alive the weather is probably hindering their survival. Hope all goes well.

  • Madelein Potgieter - 2011-08-16 08:07

    To: Family & Friends of the missing persons. I PRAY that they will be save and well, I'am in tears over this THANKING GOD that my family is save. I have sent out a prayer request to all that know to help keep your FAMILY & FRIENDS Alive and safe. I Believe that will find them soon...................

  • MelJay - 2011-08-16 08:13

    I'm still holding on to a miracle here! Keep praying, keep positive, keep the faith! To every family member waiting for news --- I pray God gives you strength today. To all the search parties out there - be safe while you search.... My heart goes out to every family member waiting for some kind of news on the whereabouts of their kin!

  • Jay Botha - 2011-08-16 08:15

    I live in Tzaneen, and it's heartbreaking to hear the rescue planes fly over our heads during the day. Each time a plane passes, we know that the missing planes have not been found. The are in our prayers.

  • Pikkie - 2011-08-16 08:57

    Be still in God's presence. He will keep and guide those who are looking. The Lord give , but He can take as well. His will, and only His will be done. Family and relatives, let there be peace be in your minds and soul. If He had taken them, so let it be. But know this. Then they are far better off than us. They will be with him in His new world. Christians unite and pray for those whom are left behind. God speed.

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