Search for missing planes on hold

2011-08-15 18:05

Polokwane - The search for two light aircraft that went missing in George's Valley near Tzaneen were put on hold as night began to fall on Monday, Limpopo police said.

"It's becoming dark, so search teams are returning and we will resume tomorrow," Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said.

A search and rescue team was hiking to an area where a Maake community leader said he saw two light aircraft go down.

"As soon as we got the information from the man we asked the defence force to use their helicopter to go to the village," he said.

"The helicopter couldn't get through because of the weather and so we dispatched a team of rescue personnel and police who are on the ground now."

The route was about two hours long and was not accessible by air.

Mulaudzi said the team would set up a base camp where they were and would continue hiking on Tuesday morning.

The Albatross planes, carrying six people each, were presumed to have crashed in the George's Valley area, between Polokwane and Tzaneen.

They took off from a landing strip in Tarentaal, a small farming community in Tzaneen, on Sunday and were headed to Rand Airport in Germiston. The planes were returning to Gauteng after an air show in Tzaneen.

Live in hope

African Pilot magazine editor Athol Franz's fiancée was one of the passengers on board one of two light aircraft.

"I am devastated that there is a possibility that the two Albatrosses either collided in the turbulent air... or that they flew into the mountains..." Franz wrote in a newsletter on Monday.

"I don't know what more to say, but live in hope that the rescue teams will find survivors tomorrow."

He said his life, and that of many others, was "shattered" by the news.

Franz had also attended the air show in Tzaneen but had left on a different plane to his fiancée. He said he was concerned about getting back to Johannesburg on Sunday morning when he saw the overcast weather.

Another passenger was a Durban air show co-ordinator, the organisers said.

They would not name the person "out of respect to the families".

"This has really hit the aviation family hard and we pray that they are safe somewhere," spokesperson Ray de Vries said in a statement.

A number of people on board were involved in the recent air show held at Virginia.

Conditions difficult

Search and Rescue SA said the conditions were very difficult.

"The clouds are still low, we can't get there. We are searching low level now," said spokesperson Johnny Smith.

Overnight foot patrols had searched in Tzaneen for the two planes. The air search was suspended on Monday morning because of bad weather, but ground searching had continued, Smith said.

An SANDF helicopter, with a rescue team of 10, had also been searching the area.

It was the only aircraft that was equipped to fly through the poor weather.

The search on Monday afternoon had moved south of Wolkberg, which is part of the Drakensberg mountain range, about 80km from Tzaneen.

  • MX2 - 2011-08-15 18:35

    This is heartbreaking for all involved. It is so terribly sad. But as a personal rule I have never ever challenged God or the forces of Nature. We are mortal & fragile. Nature & the weather are brutal elements. I only hope that at least some of the plane passengers survive this disaster. My sympathies to all the families.

      Deon - 2011-08-15 18:53

      That being said. Good luck to the families of these people. With these types of things the odds are usually stacked, but we're all hoping...

  • Hill - 2011-08-15 18:47

    I wish I could help!!!! HILL

  • Rygar - 2011-08-15 18:55

    mo u are a friggin assh*le !!!

  • trevor06 - 2011-08-15 18:55

    Dear Lord, hear me in my plea. I ask You, if it be Your Will, for the quick and safe return of the passengers to their loved ones. If it not be Your Will at this time, Lord, then I ask for the graces necessary for their loved ones to be able to carry this cross. Even though it may seem like the darkest of times, let them know that the light of Your Love shines ever so brightly upon them and that You have wrapped them in the mantle of Your most generous and Sacred Heart. Please, Lord, as a new day dawns without their loved ones, let them know that as they take each difficult step forward, You are right there by their side. When they falter, let them know that it is You who pick up their cross & enable them to carry on. May they never doubt Your immense love of them, & may they find the peace & joy that comes from loving You. Amen.

      trevor06 - 2011-08-15 19:10

      for your sake, i hope there isn't. But thanks legens, im sure the families are grateful for your comment!

      legens - 2011-08-15 19:16

      well lets see how effective your plea is ,shall we ?

      trevor06 - 2011-08-15 19:22

      legens, are you seriously saying this on a article about people missing? just leave it man, i don't care about your opinions, and im sure others feel the same!

      Fisto - 2011-08-15 19:24

      Legens, you are what we would call an insensitive d00s!

      Neville - 2011-08-15 21:42

      Well said Trevor one day they will look 4 this God when they drown in their sorrow which i pray it will never happen.

      grant9 - 2011-08-15 21:42

      @Leggens. "THERE IS NO GOD" ??? Rubbish - I was talking to Him this morning!

      legens - 2011-08-15 22:12

      @ Neville. you are right. Anthropologists have established(at the last count) that humans have created about 2648 gods over the millenia and that my friend includes your three headed deity .hard to establish which one to choose from . i make it easy , i don`t accept any of them .

      rian.lauwrens - 2011-08-16 00:28

      @leggens. Ignore all of the negative comments towards you, please. We are not supposed to judge each other, and definitely not push you further away from this great Hope which we believe in. I do care about your opinions, because it is the sincere opinion of someone lost, who has not yet seen what we have seen and what we believe in. It is the sincere outcry to experience that what we experience and to believe in Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior. I pray that you may find Him when you open your heart to Him! Sorry for hijacking this thread, but I just want to say my prayers and thoughts are with the people that are missing.

  • Jacques - 2011-08-15 19:34

    @Mo I have family involved and you have no respect for us as familis at this time. keep your mouth shut and give the 12 the respect they deserve!

      grant9 - 2011-08-15 21:52

      Jacques. I posted this morning that I didn't hold out much hope although I hoped I was wrong. Sincere condolences to all your family and friends.

  • Tekwini Durban - 2011-08-15 20:30

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all those touched by this unfolding tragedy. "High Flight" Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there, I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air.... Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew — And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod The high untrespassed sanctity of space, - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God. John Gillespie Magee, Jr. (9 June 1922 – 11 December 1941)

  • Ricky - 2011-08-15 20:39

    I am closely connected to the incident, my father is Athol Franz and today was a terribly sad day in our household. Many people are horribly affected by this and normally I wouldn't bother to say this, but please can you take your racial arguments someplace else. This is not the time or place for political bantering. Thankyou

      Tekwini Durban - 2011-08-15 20:47

      I agree 100% there Ricky, this is a time of grief and uncertainty for all concerned. Petty comments have NO place here. Some callous and stupid people have NO respect for others suffering and heartache at a time like this.

      OuttaHere - 2011-08-15 22:41

      Hi Ricky. My heart goes out to you. My entire family is deeply entrenched in South African aviation community and we all empathise with your current situation. Pay no attention to @mo, he is a CHOP! Stay strong in this difficult time, our thoughts are with you.

      Snoopy88 - 2011-08-15 22:48

      So sorry Ricky. My thoughts are with you and your family and all the other families affected by this tragedy.

  • Rassie - 2011-08-15 22:04

    A close friend of the family's wife was on sorry to all involved, hope we all have awnsers soon!

  • Ernest - 2011-08-15 22:50

    Mo hukom moet jy jou sieklike klein geestelike sogenaamde debad hier probeer uitvoer? Voel jy die slagoffers en hul naasbestaandes skuld jou iets.....probeer jy mense wat le trap? Gaan slaap seuntjie of gaan kleur jou boeke in en laat hierdie forum vir opregte mense wat belangstel in die wel en wee alle betrokkenis. Sterkte aan almal en moenie toelaat dat die verkrompte kommentare van n ogeletterde sot julle steur nie daar is genoeg wat werklik belangstel en omgee wat julle werklik ondersteun.

  • Nix - 2011-08-16 03:47

    Nix Trix Sometimes, one has to breathe and believe..... we know, we are not in control, yet so much adventure, love, light welcomes us, we are sorry for the ones we leave behind, yet never far, just blink, think, and we are there ..... lecturing you.... we may have told you so....... but you proved us right....... you are our young...... and breathe..... we love you..... that is it... we do it..... you taught us so so so right!!!! We will succeed!!!! I love you so much Dad and Big Bill!!!!

  • Nix - 2011-08-16 03:49

    Nix Trix Sometimes, one has to breathe and believe..... we know, we are not in control, yet so much adventure, love, light welcomes us, we are sorry for the ones we leave behind, yet never far, just blink, think, and we are there ..... lecturing you.... we may have told you so....... but you proved us right....... you are our young...... and breathe..... we love you..... that is it... we do it..... you taught us so so so right!!!! We will succeed!!!! I love you so much Dad and Big Bill!!!!

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