SA pilots die as 'Batman' plane crashes

2013-07-03 10:21

Johannesburg - Two South African pilots died when their plane - which featured in the latest Batman movie - crashed in Francistown in Botswana.

Beeld reported on Tuesday that Rob Tasker, 75, and Lindy Brooks, 56, from Batair Cargo left Lanseria Airport in Johannesburg for Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Saturday.

They had planned to land in Francistown to refuel but thick mist on the ground caused them to miss the landing strip on their first pass. They told the control tower they would make a second pass because they could see the landing strip, but never did.

The wreckage was found two hours later about 10km from the airport.

The cause of the crash is not known, and the Civil Aviation Authority is investigating. The cargo on board the plane was not damaged.

According to Beeld, the aircraft - an Embraer Bandeirante - featured in the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, which came out last year. Tasker and Brooks flew to the UK for their part in the movie. Ironically, the plane "crashed" in the movie, using computer-generated special effects.

Tasker’s son, Bobby, a firefighting pilot in KwaZulu-Natal, has left for Botswana to identify the bodies.


  • Goldie Saturnz - 2013-07-03 10:31

    this is the plane that Bane crashed at the beginning of the movie, really sad

      Haibo Mfondini - 2013-07-03 12:27

      more like The Dark Cloud Rises

      procold2 - 2013-07-03 13:49

      ja rip and condolences to the families

      Frodo Lopez - 2013-07-04 11:16

      i just want to know what their cargo was to DRC!!

  • Ian D. Samson - 2013-07-03 10:36

    Obviously no pre-flight meteorology check with Francistown. Pilot error.

      Ronald Gibson - 2013-07-03 10:47

      Wow, who needs a CAA investigation if they have you that can come to a conclusion with the meagre information in a news article. Why then waste the money.

      Avishkar Singh - 2013-07-03 10:50

      Dont assume things...the story has no facts about that. Have some compassion that some people died to some misfortune.

      Clive Brink - 2013-07-03 10:50

      Please don't talk nonsense IanDSamson, since when you an expert. This was fog not mist, and the two were very familiar and experienced with this route - they could have flown it with their eyes closed.

      Charmaine Rene Bell - 2013-07-03 10:55

      Really Ian ... Have some respect for the families and friends of the deceased. Where you there? NO ... so keep your thoughts to yourself.

      Gerhard Van der Linde - 2013-07-03 11:01

      Very clever Mr Ian Samson...and quick to point out things you obviously know nothing about

      Beastley - 2013-07-03 11:05

      Amazing conclusion indeed. Imagine the breadth of this talent being used.. We can solve all kinds of problems, answer all sorts of questions and conclude the outcome of a vast array of illegal or negligent activities. Never mind someone lost their life Ian, you go ahead and jump to your conclusions.

      Dylan Dylan Dylan - 2013-07-03 12:44

      I love the internet.

      Tamlin Van Heerver - 2013-07-03 12:46

      Pilot error pure and simple, Francistown is fully equipped for instrument approaches.

      John Nicholas - 2013-07-03 14:08

      Wow. It's one thing for IanDSamson to come to a conclusion like that with zero evidence, but then even after all the other comments from people with brains, here comes Tamlin Van Heerver and does it again. That is truly special.

      Chris Clark - 2013-07-03 15:08


      HJS - 2013-07-03 15:18

      @ Ian, one can only wonder what the "D" stands for? A few come to mind readily. (four letters) One ends in 'ck' and another ends in 'os'.

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-03 16:27

      So Ian and Tamlin how did you come to these conclusions. Did you check tech logs for possible tech defects??? Did you read the METAR's and TAF's?? Did you read the NOTAM's, did you hear the ATC tapes?? Did you see the FUEL uplift?? DID you see the contamination checks?? Did you see the load sheets??? Do you even have an IF rating on the type?? Do you really know WTF you are talking about?? Your comments are ill considered and downright disrespectful. The LAW says an accident is to be properly investigated by the lawfully qualified people....not the likes of you on a forum like this.

      Tamlin Van Heerver - 2013-07-03 16:37

      @Leigh... just refresh my memory and everyone elses here with regards to METARS, TAFS & NOTAMS & LOADING... and how it could have influenced this outcome?

      Tamlin Van Heerver - 2013-07-03 16:51

      didn't think you could answer that Leigh since you are a VFR aerobatic pilot, and most probably knows almost zilch about proper IFR planning, let alone flying.

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-03 16:56

      Tamlin, yes VFR aerobatics...your right! Also ATPL, GRD 2, 12000 hrs Airline, various Boeing and Airbus types flown and still flying, I think I know a bit since you asked. What you got???

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-03 17:05

      @ Tamlin, so to answer your question, was the fog forecast, what influence did those forecasts have on the fuel decision, enough to "hold" or not. What load, where was it loaded, how did this affect CG and therefore handling and fuel consumption. Therefore urgency to land. Did a tech defect come into play, lots of questions need to be answered by properly qualified people, who are then able to draw the proper conclusions. Last I checked you where not one of those people. Perhaps you should wind your neck in and let the pro's do there job before casting doubts on people's professionalism???

      Tamlin Van Heerver - 2013-07-03 18:19

      ummm wrong Leigh, let me draw you a picture, since you are VFR. METAR / TAF, WX report = below minima, continued approach to DA/MDA = ILLEGAL NOTMAS = Approach facility U/S, continued approach = ILLEGAL LOADING = Overloaded for a/c, departed = ILLEGAL So you are an airline pilot who flys around with NO reserves and diversion fuel? Wouldn't that constitute being completely ILLEGAL. Clearly you are NOT an airline pilot as you don't know the basics, no airline would hire you.

      Sandy Johnstone - 2013-07-03 20:55

      Tamlin, you sound like a Miss Know-it-All, and have a very cocky and patronising way of engaging with your peers.

      Johan Jacobs - 2013-07-03 21:18

      You may think want you want, but NOT say what you want.

      Feik Mc Heither - 2013-07-03 22:32

      Lol, battle of the Einsteins. Leigh Einstein versus Tamlin Einstein. Now, lets see who's got the biggest of them all. Lets go...does the ATPL have EFF & METAR's rhyme with DA & cANCer certification to apply the religiously contaminated ACDP NOTAM's ? Huh?

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-04 01:23

      Tamlin, you know what they say about assumption!!! trust me, I'm qualified, you obviously checked my FB page, check again you will see I work for a proper airline. Yes the points you raised would be technically illegal, BUT did they apply on this occasion and are YOU qualified to make that determination??? Guaranteed you are NOT! You seem to harp on about the LAW, then let the LAW run it's course. Tell us what your qualifications are....we all waiting ;) Feik...what are you on about????

      Feik Mc Heither - 2013-07-04 06:30

      I'm just messing with ya'll. Unlike Facebook's useless status updates, you laugh and learn at the same time on News24. @ Jason, that's uncalled for dude...leave the girls alone, they having a constructive argument.

      Tamlin Van Heerver - 2013-07-04 08:33

      Einstein 2 goes again... @Leigh, what do you mean technically, thats like saying, "well thats sort of illegal.." It is either correct or incorrect. From VFR into IFR, and then not complying with the the published IFR procedure IS illegal and exactly how accidents happen, oh look an accident happened, CFIT, prepare yourself for a visual approach and then went IF and tried to, "wing it" If you do not like the truth from the outcome then don't go looking for it. What the pilot did was completely illegal, there is NO set published procedure for what he did, and the outcome is plain and simple for all to see, this is what we are trying to clamp down on. I wonder if Cathay would share your same sentiments. When people put their loved ones on an aircraft they DEMAND & EXPECT the pilots to follow the law and get them there saftely, yet you seem to support breaking the law with a complete disregard for peoples lives, the cowboy mentality shines through and what we are trying our utmost to route out, but as yet are still failing. Approved CAA aircraft accident investigator, 8 years. I really don't need to go through the list of civilian & military aircraft I've flown for this country as it is not relevant. And to answer your question, YES they DID apply my previous points on this occasion, and we all know the outcome.

      Iampeople - 2013-07-04 08:43

      Shut up Tamlin.

      Mike Olwagen - 2013-07-04 10:23

      Should apply for a job with the Economic Freedom Fighters. They could do with an intellectual giant like Ian.

      Jason Van der Spuy - 2013-07-04 12:04

      Feik, "leave the girls alone"? Leigh is a dude, not a girl. Not very constructive from you And Tamlin is clearly very arrogant and obnoxious. She claims she's an aircraft accident investigator... I doubt it. You would expect objectivity and professionalism from such a position

      Kenneth Raymond Hubbard - 2013-07-04 17:13

      IanDSamson, weather to be suitable for landing is not required to depart on a flight, as long as certain other criteria is fulfilled. Your comment is therefore technically and factually incorrect. Tamlin, your comments are also without actual substance and apparently serve only to generate controversy. Perhaps you are simply farming dislikes? First off, your assertion that he was breaking the law when he overshot the runway is nonsense. It would appear to me that he made a sesible decision to go-around when he reached his minima. What the RVR/vis readings were at the time of the approach, I don't know, so I will not comment on the legality of going past the ABP with weather below minima, because we simply do not know the facts. I think it is common sense that any pilot would then reposition for an approach onto an opposing runway where the weather appeared to be better. As you said, there is no procedure for this, nor is one required. Simply climb to a safe altitude and take up the approach from a suitable point. You mention VFR into IFR.....not sure what the relevance of this is?? I doubt they departed Lanseria VFR?? Nope, something went wrong that caused 2 experienced pilots to crash. Your comment that "they were not following the law"(which you, in fact, do not know) is inconsistent with the attitude required of an accident investigator.

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-05 11:25

      Tamlin eeeeeeeysh, I'm impressed! Not a very good AI it would seem. Yip I got friends in SAAF and CAA high places too. We could debate this on another forum, but no point really, you got all the answers.....turn and burn, returning to base!

      Marcel Kuiper - 2013-07-18 16:03

      @Tamlin van Heerver, I don't know why you all are going on about what exactly happened here... Were you in the aircraft? You got no idea what situation they were in or what failures they had onboard at that time.. You are not a SACAA inspector you fly for an airline. How much hands on flying experience have you actually got? Why do you have to have such an attitude towards other peoples comments, because your comments also make little sense as you basically don't ever do your own flight planning. Why not leave it to the professionals and keep your comments to yourself. You make airline pilots look bad.

  • Kevin Walker - 2013-07-03 10:44

    RIP ...guys ! Batman for ever.

  • Dianna Sheehan - 2013-07-03 10:45

    No Matter who's at fault - its still really sad due to loss of life.

  • Zohan Steppingstone - 2013-07-03 10:49

    Finger trouble.

  • Erick Truter - 2013-07-03 11:04

    Very sad :-( Thoughts and prayers with the friends and family.

  • Mannaan Gaffoor - 2013-07-03 11:25

    Just goes to show - Batman is not for real!!! Or he wud have saved them

      Haibo Mfondini - 2013-07-03 12:26

      You don't say

  • Will Glibbery - 2013-07-03 11:51

    RIP, strongs to their family and colleagues :(

  • Dan Noyle - 2013-07-03 11:52

    They were two of the nicest people you could meet.

  • SunshinyDay - 2013-07-03 12:07

    Oh that is terrible. I knew Lindy, she was such a darling. :(

      George Tenner - 2013-07-03 12:24

      Yip, always a pleasure working with her. So sad.

      SunshinyDay - 2013-07-03 15:59

      It sickens me how many Batman jokes there are on these comments. For heavens sake, two people are dead and they think it's a laughing matter.

  • George Tenner - 2013-07-03 12:23

    Rob & Lindy you will surely be missed, our thoughts are with friends and the Batair Cargo team.

  • Mark ThatGuy Walraven - 2013-07-03 13:29

    To all the sarcastic comments being posted below. My Grandfather, Rob Tasker who was killed in this very unfortunate accident was a veteran pilot with decades of experience as a pilot in the war, flight instructor and cargo pilot. Please show some dignity and respect towards my family and friends as we morn our loss.

      Patricia Wright - 2013-07-03 14:59

      I knew Rob well from Rhodesia days, my husband was also killed in an aircraft accident . My love to you and all the family , Rob was a well respected pilot

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-03 17:16

      @ Mark, sorry for your loss. Blue skies to them both. RIP

      Wayne Hodgson - 2013-07-04 12:43

      Condolences to the families Mark and apologies on behalf of those disrespectful commentators. May they find peace in perpetual Clear Blue Skies...

  • HJS - 2013-07-03 15:15

    I don't know the people, never even heard of them but sad news to read all the same.

  • Winston Jackson - 2013-07-03 16:06

    I dont care how fit you are,To be flying planes at 75 is not on. Your reflexes are not as fast and you hesitate to make quick rational decisions. As a pilot of that age try and get a job for any airline in the world to fly passengers around and you'll get turned down.

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-03 17:15

      If you got the medical, you fit to fly!

      Mark Liprini - 2013-07-03 20:21

      Winston when you have been flying that long, experience weighs in far heavier than youthful reflexes in many cases. You get old pilots and bold pilots, but you don't easily find old bold pilots.

  • Valéry Valère M. Kipaïka - 2013-07-03 16:51

    It s a real please having business with Lindy and Rob at TFM

  • Valéry Valère M. Kipaïka - 2013-07-03 17:17

    Rod and Lindy , TFM logistics team will miss you!!! It was a great honor working together !

  • Mmangaka Molapisi - 2013-07-03 17:48

    RIP brave boys! Francistown is an unlucky' town, in the late 1970s a plane ferrying mine workers from SA back home to Malawi crashed. 70 lives were lost. We bind the spirit behind these eerie crashes in the name of Jesus Christ.

  • Mitirhoyakwe Mabunda - 2013-07-03 20:26

    RIP guys

  • Hennie Steyn - 2013-07-03 20:52

    They were my best friends in aviation. Will miss them!

  • Yolandi Geldenhuys - 2013-07-04 02:04


  • Piet Fourie - 2013-07-04 07:19

    RIP. Poorly written article, like most of the hogwash NEWS 24 publishes.

  • Wayne Hodgson - 2013-07-04 11:16

    Just a question to Tamlin from a non-pilots perspective but with an eye for accident investigation... would the law also be broken when the American pilot landed his plane in the Hudson river and saved his passengers where the LAW would probably have told him to return to a suitable airfield ?? The point to be made is ROOT CAUSE analysis can only be achieved via investigation of all the facts which, unless you are part of the CAA and have superhuman ability to have resolved all that in a matter of hours, is pretty damn unlikely. You may be the best pilot in the world but clearly the worst communicator when it comes to a very emotive issue of people losing their lives from an as yet undetermined cause. An apology to the families affected as well as the commentators here from you would seem appropriate at this time!

      Leigh Le Gonidec - 2013-07-05 11:17

      Well said chaps, the bigger picture here is 2 good people lost there lives. We never go flying with the intention of breaking the law and nor did they. Not really worth continuing the debate with "Chuckette Yeager"

  • Homer Biaya - 2013-07-04 11:59

    It was very hard and sad to heard about their crash, Rob Tasker,and Lindy Brooks...may their stays in peace...

  • Rob - 2013-07-04 15:38

    "The cargo on board the plane was not damaged" - So what was the cargo to make it so important to add that thought in?

  • Robbinson Bishonga - 2013-07-04 21:30

    It's very deficult for me to understand the story coz I known francistown airport very much .Botswana is more of a semi-desert country and so is its town Francis. So the weather mentioned in dc story is questionable. Mayb try Mr IanSomeson

  • Adair Victoria Cross - 2013-07-04 21:49

    Always amazes me that people actually come on to news24 to pick arguments.Get a life people.

  • Saralie Bianca Kaygee Cooper - 2013-07-05 01:42

    My condolences to the families of the pilots,its a South African loss really#sad#

  • Moira Harper - 2013-07-05 17:14

    Condolences to Rob + Lindy's Family + Friends. We are absolutely devastated by this tragic news. Our thoughts + prayers are with you all. RIP Rob + Lindy. Special love to all our friends who share this tragedy, Neil, Moira + Jess Harper xxxxx

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