Volunteers fund search for missing plane

2012-11-12 14:41

Johannesburg - The aviation community has come together to provide funding and time to help search for the two South African men whose plane went missing in Mozambique more than two weeks ago.

Bryan Simms, 60, of Midrand, and his son, Rob, 22, were last heard of on 27 October 2012, when their light aircraft went missing in Mozambique.

They were travelling from Malawi to Lanseria airport, north of Johannesburg.

Shortly before the plane went missing, Simms senior said in a radio message that he had problems with one of the engines. They were last heard from when the plane was flying near Beira, in Mozambique.


Richard Maier, a pilot who currently heads up the search, told News24 on Monday he doesn’t know the missing men, but felt compelled to keep on searching when aviation authorities called off the search.

"If I got lost like that...I would have wanted people to keep on looking for me."

Maier’s father-in-law went missing in a similar situation a few years ago.

Members of the aviation community have spent around R200 000 from their own pockets to fund the search, with donations helping fill the gaps.

Maier is offering a $5 000 (R43 500) reward to anyone who can lead the team to the crash site.


The search area is reportedly very remote. "Extremely hot temperatures, low level turbulence, high bird activity and strong crosswinds have made for some challenging conditions," Joshua Househam, who is part of the search party, told News24.

"The area is also full of burnt trees and charcoal patches which are making the actual visual search incredibly tough."

The rescue team is currently based in Chimoio, Mozambique, where at least five different aircrafts are continuously looking for the men. Volunteers on motorbikes and on foot are also combing the area.

  • spookhuis - 2012-11-12 15:12

    Isn't this why we have an air help our citizens. Two weeks and Zumer gets a 1.5 bn rand driveway.

      andre.c.smit - 2012-11-12 15:40

      Well said Spookhuis .Unfortunately ,dont think our air force can afford the fuel to join the search .

      fussed.anderson - 2012-11-12 15:53

      If only it was "driveways" plane.

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-11-12 16:06

      Why is this Govt of ours so hardup in helping their own citizens they turn a blind eye. They didn't even try and help rescue the two South Africans that were held hostage by Somali pirates!!! Thank you to all the volunteers for taking on this mission. I know I wouldve wanted help if it was my family!!!

  • CoolJay21 - 2012-11-12 15:13

    All of the best. Our hearts go out to the family and trust that all will have a good ending! :)

  • mable.jacobs.90 - 2012-11-12 15:44

    Oh, ok so there's no money for something like this but Showerhead can have an underground bunker????F***ed up

  • tony.angel.3975 - 2012-11-12 16:08

    Hope they find the missing plane!Well done guys and girls for the support!!

  • flysouth - 2012-11-12 16:12

    The S&R responsibility falls on the country where the aircraft as lost and in this case the MOZ authorities searched for days and found nothing, then called off the search. That is normal procedure. This private search is undertaken by volunteers using their own aircraft and their own money entirely with no assistance from anyone. Others not involved in the actual searching have also donated funds to help out. I do not know if the SA government has been approached to assist but I do know of a case in the mid 1990s where 2 SA aviators were lost over the South Atlantic on a ferry flight from Brazil to Sierra Leone (their first landfall in Africa and refuellling point for the onward legs to SA). To their great credit the SA government in the person of the then Foreign Minister and others in cooperation, sanctioned and funded the flight of a C130 Hercules SAAF aircraft and crew to search over the ocean. Much diplomatic activity was required for permissions from various African and Western countries but they pulled it off. Regrettably they found nothing. The remarkable fact however remains that a government was prepared to go to such lengths to search for two of it's citizens - is that not how it should be?

  • helen.smuts.77 - 2012-11-13 09:34

    I do pray that Bryan Simms and his son are found soon!!!

  • cjhellyar - 2012-11-13 11:07

    Surely with all them satellites up there photos could be took and anylised - they boasted that they could read the headlines of a newspaper. Secondly given the cost of even the simplest of aircraft, a tracking device should be fitted to each aircraft regardless of size and a track kept at least till the end of that flight? surely an emergency locator beacon can be hung around each pilots neck - Us Marines can be located about 98% of the time for rescue - what is with us?????

  • greg.goodspeed.3 - 2012-11-20 09:48

    The ground search teams found the crash site yesterday. Sadly both Bryan and Rob had passed away. My sincere condolences go out to Lilian, Wife and mother of Bryan and Rob.

  • greg.goodspeed.3 - 2012-11-20 09:51

    Apparently the ground search team found the plane wreckage yesterday. Sadly both Bryan and Rob had passed away. My sincere condolences go out to Lilian and her family for their loss. Bryan was an absolute gentleman and Rob was a fine young man.

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