Two killed in Working on Fire helicopter crash

2015-04-22 19:39
(Anthoneyvdm via Twitter)

(Anthoneyvdm via Twitter)

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Cape Town – At least two people died when a helicopter crashed in Bainskloof between Wellington and Ceres, in the Western Cape, on Wednesday, according to a report.

eNCA reported the pilot was flying a Working on Fire helicopter.

Working on fire tweeted: “Sad afternoon can confirm helicopter incident at Bainskloof fire 2 fatalities. May Their Souls Rest in Peace!”

According to the broadcaster, the exact details of the crash were still unclear, but paramedics said both victims were male, and it's likely that the pilot was killed in the crash.

Working on Fire's Linton Rensburg told Eyewitness News that the pilot had to make a forced emergency landing and that during the landing there were two fatalities.

Last month one of the country's top helicopter rescue pilots, Willem Hendrik “Bees” Marais, died while on duty fighting fires at Cape Point in the Western Cape.

Marais attempted a forced landing with his Bell 212 Huey near Olifantsbos in the Table Mountain National Park when he crashed.

As a freelance flyer for poverty relief programme Working on Fire, Marais worked tirelessly battling a blaze, scooping water and dropping it on flames with a 1 000 litre bambi-bucket attached to his chopper.

Marais, a former South African Air Force (SAAF) pilot, leaves behind his wife, Jacqui, and their children.

A friend of his from his SAAF days, Mariette Hopley, described him as always having a smile on his face.

“Very calm and friendly, always a smile and time for colleagues and people around him. He was loved by all,” Hopley told City Press.

“He excelled as an aviator and taught and shared his knowledge and expertise with many other pilots. He was a special soul and mentor.”

Marais also worked for Air Mercy Service, a non-profit organisation that provides emergency air ambulance and rural health outreach programmes across South Africa.

“RIP Oom Bees. What a legend!” tweeted fellow air medical worker, Farhaad Haffejee.

Read more on:    working on fire  |  cape town  |  air crashes

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