Wreckage of missing plane found - SANDF

2012-12-06 07:28

Pretoria - The wreckage of a missing military aircraft has been found in the Drakensberg near Ladysmith, the SA National Defence Force said on Thursday.

It went missing en route to Mthatha on Wednesday, SANDF spokesperson Xolani Mabanga said.

"I was informed that the wreckage was found but can only provide more details later after I have received more information from the team which attended to the scene," said Mabanga.

The aircraft was scheduled to land in Mthatha at 10:00 on Wednesday. It took off from Waterkloof air force base in Pretoria.

He would not disclose how many people were on board "to prevent speculation".

Military helicopters were sent to the area, but the search was suspended due to bad weather. A ground search was underway in the Ladysmith area, northern KwaZulu-Natal.

Earlier, Algoa FM reported that the aircraft was a C47TP, an upgraded DC-3 refitted with turbine engines.

It quoted an unnamed source saying 11 people were believed to be on board.

  • jason.children - 2012-12-06 07:32

    Thats not good. Hope they find survivors. And if not then i hope it was quick.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-12-06 07:49

      Yeah, I weep for them and especially their families.......sadly, in those mountains, the news is not good. Hope I am wrong. sjoe

  • israel.maseko.5 - 2012-12-06 07:33

    This story is incomplete, are the occupants still alive?

      hayley.fredericks.9 - 2012-12-06 07:42

      Um, give them a chance to to do the report. It says "It remains unclear if there were any survivors" so they can't really report on it now can they?

      Donkervlie - 2012-12-06 07:46

      they have not managed to get to the wreckage and can only access it by foot due to the bad weather and low cloud.

  • Rabbler.Rouser - 2012-12-06 07:37

    Very sad. Hopefully we can get some news on the passengers and crew.

  • zimzon.zimzon - 2012-12-06 07:41

    I hope and pray they find the crew and passangers alive.

  • tobie.spuy - 2012-12-06 07:47

    So Sad, condolences to the families of Zack, the pilot, crew and passengers who so sadly lost their lives, RIP

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-06 08:19

      Thanks Tobie. :(

      john.kirkwood.9619 - 2012-12-06 08:44

      deepest condolences to freinds and famlily,

      gerald.parker.3956 - 2012-12-06 09:03

      Tobie it appears that you knew the people on board. My deepest condolencesto you and all of the families and friends

      Marietjie.martin05 - 2012-12-06 10:51

      Yes shame condonlences to the Smith Fam, was with them in school.

  • Itumeleng William Sebe - 2012-12-06 07:52

    To all those who made negative n silly comment may GOD forgives you n may he be witn the SANDF

  • denton.estment - 2012-12-06 07:53

    Condolences and sympathy to passengers if they survived. Blame it on Zoom and his merry thieves using up all the allocations on private trips to the extent there is no money left to maintain the aircraft. This is the begining of the end of a wonderful airforce.

      mike.bila.58 - 2012-12-06 09:30

      Iam sending all my condolences to de families that lost their loved ones it was such a bad weather yesterday especially to the drakensburg its always misty out de wen its raining

  • joanne.sandshuman - 2012-12-06 07:53

    tobie.spuy...did they found them? I am following Zandri, his sister, on facebook but haven't heard anything yet. Feel so sorry for them.

      tobie.spuy - 2012-12-06 08:27

      According to information I received, Zandri's boyfriend made a BBM statement to friends that no survivors were found. Very sad, all friends of my children.

      joanne.sandshuman - 2012-12-06 09:50

      Thanks Tobie. Very sad. Zandri and Zack were very close

  • en.gineer.359 - 2012-12-06 07:54

    Highly unlikely they'll find anyone alive (Drakensburg)...but let's cross fingers.

  • chris.flack.750 - 2012-12-06 07:56

    Very sad, but why is South Africa still using Dakota's. They date back to WWII.

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-12-06 08:11

      The nice planes are reserved for the big wig god-like royalty like Lindiwe Sisulu, showerhead and his buddies, ordinary mortals like us have to fly in a Dekota

      robbie.crouch - 2012-12-06 08:15

      Because they work very well, one of the toughest airframes ever designed, in fact the Turboprop conversion is rated very highly. Some say it was a plane waiting for the right engine.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 02:30

      @ robbie.crouch, do I stand corrected or you? The way I read this article the plane were fitted with Turbine Engines and not turbo props. a Turbine Engine, as far as I know has no props, it's engines used by Boeing and Airbus as well as Mirage fighter planes etc. Some people calls it Jet Engines.

      dennis.mennis.961 - 2012-12-07 06:08

      robi.schwab.3 You stand corrected. A turbine engine is just that - an engine. It does not describe the propulsion method at all. A turbo-prop has turbine engines which are used to spin propellers as opposed to fans. They are lighter than piston engines and have less moving parts making them far more reliable. Turbo-prop is short for (you guessed it) turbine propeller!

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 16:28

      dennis.mennis.961, Thank you very much for correcting my erroneous understanding hey. I really DO appreciate the information. Please pardon my ignorance will you? So what you're actually telling me is that this conversion DOES in fact involve a Boeing type engine BUT one that drives propellers to cause motion as apposed to thrust as with Boeings. Am I correct in this interpretation?

  • richard.zanner - 2012-12-06 08:15

    Second Dakota in a short time. The first one was due to a bad pilot. IS this one the same reason. Can only wonder about the quality of pilots on these air crafts. Not fair to the passengers.

      flouw2 - 2012-12-07 08:35

      Is this realy the kind of people that live in south africa that our defence force must protect that make such bad comments about them? May God be with those families that have lost there lovedones in this crash.Maybe some people should spend a day in the airforce to live what it is about!

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-12-06 08:17

    The negative comments are astounding, there were highly qualified crew and passengers on board, a sad day for the SANDF.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 02:38

      Yes robbie. crouch, how DO you know. Did you train them? Or have you ever flown in an aircraft piloted by any one of them? A Dakota DC3 doesn't just fall from the sky my friend. We've got a saying about these aircraft you know, it goes. "Man these Dakotas are really hard to get out of the air. You really FLY them onto the ground, they just cannot land".

  • kundai.kmv - 2012-12-06 08:30

    so th wreackage is found...what about the 11 pple that were on board??

  • phil.grahn - 2012-12-06 08:31

    Who was in control of this plane?

      hayley.fredericks.9 - 2012-12-06 10:27

      What is your point?

      gerald.parker.3956 - 2012-12-06 14:25

      The Pilot

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 02:42

      @ hayley.fredericks.9 and gerald.parker.3956. Don't be stupid please, the man obviously knows the "pilot" was in control, he wants to know WHO this pilot was. What his name was.

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-07 07:51

      What does it matter what his name was???? Accidents happen. I agree with hayley - what is your point?

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 16:37

      JManAtheoi, I have absolute NO point aside from correcting sarcasm against phil.grahn. The man asks a fair AND decent question but nobody answers him in due respect. Instead they pass rude sarcastic remarks. He wants to know WHO was the pilot that so sadly lost his life here and all they can say to him in reply is that it's the pilot. You know, you ALMOST got me to get really rude. (So I'll rather SHUT-UP).

  • tokoloshe.eish - 2012-12-06 08:35

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and loved ones affected by this trajic event!

  • cecile.oreillylombard - 2012-12-06 08:37

    Mr. Mandela must be devastated! RIP.

  • Thilivhali Fitzgerald - 2012-12-06 08:40

    is it the same plane that had a problem last month? and y were they still using a plane thats more that 70yrs old everyday we hear of stupid ministers spending over R200000 on a single flight or for a BnB accomodation, now innocent people have lost they lives coz some1 is just greedy

  • veldt66 - 2012-12-06 08:59

    Too old aircraft!

  • maselela - 2012-12-06 09:09

    what a relief... Hoping they(medical team) survived the crash.

  • daniel.rossouw1 - 2012-12-06 09:11

    Was at Ysterplaat when they built the first TP Dac. Condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. These days some SAAF pilots only pass on 3rd try to get license. With this sad things will keep happening.

  • celestag1 - 2012-12-06 09:15

    Sad day 4 the SANDF! rest in peace my comrades in arms.We salute u!

  • abdul.cassiem.9 - 2012-12-06 09:16

    My thoughts r with t families rit nw u r in my prayers.

  • tiaan.evony - 2012-12-06 09:20

    Sad day in aviation,I hope all could survive that,but due to location what are the odds??? :(

  • gary.desousa.5 - 2012-12-06 09:38

    Sad. Why if reports are to be believed are teams of medical people flying each week to Mandela to presumably treat him when they should be staying there full time to do this. He doesnt have a mini hospital there staffed? like nakandlagate compound?? He deserves one.

  • PetervdLinden - 2012-12-06 09:43

    Sad - these Goonie Birds are well loved and umazing work-horses! Our thoughts go out to the family of those onboard...

      kobie.nel1 - 2012-12-06 14:40

      Years ago they were better known as a "kots-koets" by the infantery.

  • joanne.sandshuman - 2012-12-06 10:01

    The biggest problem with this country is the insensitive people who abuse "freedom of speech". Point is, if you don't know anything about a subject, keep quiet. These were highly qualified pilots who have family and friends who loved them. The crew and passengers all served this country in different ways. Give them the respect they deserve and leave the investigation for the professionals. It does not matter what caused this. Talented people lost their lives who have left loved ones behind.

      janice.jax.vanwyk - 2012-12-06 10:49

      Thank you very much... Because we as family of those people are already in such pain for the lost of our dear loved ones... We don't need people who are still so insensitive!!!

  • mmoledis - 2012-12-06 10:02

    Even though such kind of accident do happen,then our National Defence Force should re look on the matter and try to get our air force to standard by hiring qualified flight engineers and air craft engineers, I think defence force should start recruiting even from private sector engineers and pay them enough in order to keep them and get the standard of our air up to scratch 100% and not less as they are the shield of the nation and if can not operate then the nation will be in trouble.

      hein.huyser - 2012-12-06 12:51

      @MMoledis, you touch a raw nerve and 100% correct, but allas, the upkeep of our most modern aircraft is being neglegted and the airforce have lost too many great Technicians through employment policies of the anc.

  • jay.sean.792197 - 2012-12-06 10:06

    i wonder if the captain was the same unqualified pilot that was landing as if she was shot down at umthatha airport a week ago???????????

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-07 07:46

      Jay. you can go f**k yourself. If you don't know what your talking about, STFU.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 16:50

      JManAtheoi. Please accept my humble apology for my DECENT and RESPECTFUL earlier reply to your IDIOTIC statement on my comment okay. Because YOU are an ILLITERATE and UNCULTURED uneducated REAL mother fu... . BUT at least I must admit, you're very honest with regards to your characteristic behavior for NOW we all KNOW what you're doing in your free time. Exactly just THAT which you've suggested jay.sean.792197 should go do to himself. He's a gentleman and NOT a barbarian like you, so PLEASE go satisfy yourself that way you piece of DUNG.

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-11 10:46

      robi. Thanks for your considerate, mature feedback. I went the same route above, but FYI - the pilot, Zack, was a good friend and part of my family. If i read one more comment about "unqualified pilots" and "BEE" BS, I will puke. I'm not a barbarian, I'm just gatvol of these "experts" on here who haven't got a clue. So stick it up you bumhole please.

  • larabiance - 2012-12-06 10:30

    "He would not disclose how many people were on board "to prevent speculation"." - yeah, it was probably a minister using it "however they though fit". Good riddance

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-07 07:47

      Wow you people are sick. I hope that when someone dies in your family and friends, people will make the same comment. Just to make you think a bit.

  • janice.jax.vanwyk - 2012-12-06 10:45

    My heart goes out to those family... My uncle was on board... Was a huge shock when I found out this morning... He will surely be missed!!!

      gerald.parker.3956 - 2012-12-06 13:46

      My heart felt condolences. He was serving his country

  • bernard.nienaber - 2012-12-06 10:57

    i cant believe what i read on Die Burgers's comment section about this incident. some people wishing that Madiba was on that flight because he is a terrorist. that comment section is closed now but i wish i could give those pricks a piece of my mind. my people will never change, i'm just glad people with that mentality are in the minority.

      lee.brand.73 - 2012-12-06 11:07

      you get brainless idiots on both sides. Mandela was one of the greatest presidents - perhaps the greatest. Look at the rubbish we have now...

      Happysnaps1 - 2012-12-07 20:11

      Contact me,

  • lee.brand.73 - 2012-12-06 11:03

    There are some real idiots on this forum. My understanding is that there were highly qualified and experienced pilots on board. Even if they were new pilots it may not have been their fault. Lose an engine in that area and you are dead. If you want someone to blame then blame the policians who have wasted all the cash that could have gone to the SAAF for new aircraft. The Dac belongs in a museum.

      Happysnaps1 - 2012-12-07 20:38

      Lee, it becomes suspiciously obvious that, in that weather, (with practically NO visibility) and flying over treacherous mountainous terrain, with it's notorious idiosyncrasies (like turbulence and down-drafts) they should (perhaps?) have been at a SAFER and HIGHER altitude, ABOVE the 'weather' (unless of course they can establish the possibility of engine failure of one or both engines) It is a well know fact that Aeroplanes and mountains do NOT mix! ESPECIALLY in zero visiblity and turbulent weather! That's my 'Take' for what it's worth!! (and until the experts can establish whether there was or was not, engine trouble or failure, we will NOT KNOW the cause of this terrible tragedy, There is an old saying which, in flying, is particularly pertinent. "ALL 'ACCIDENTS' ARE AVOIDABLE" ??

  • grant.n.dickie - 2012-12-06 11:18


  • gladness.xaba - 2012-12-06 12:40

    Check that the pilots did not get their wings in lucky packets

  • danny.dan3 - 2012-12-06 14:04

    Amazing how ppl r quickly 2 4get ol da achievements of ol dose Unqualified pilots u mention, der has been so many emergencyies over da years n dose unqualified pilots r da ones hu flew sorties, saving ppls lives, f I had 2 mention everythn our pilots hv done 4 dis country n ask yol wat dd yol do 4 ur country none of u would even match da heroic acts dey hv done 4 dis country, jus cos its never happened 2 u doesn't mean it won't happen, our unit is goin thru 1 of da most difficult tym n ol u ppl agrue abt s whether da pilots were qualified? Ppl hv lost lives in dis crash b4 yol make stupid comments 1st w8 4 da inquiry 2 b done den work 4rm der nt wyl yol dnt no wat happened sum ppl r disgusting!!!!!!! Shame on yol,

      fpstevens - 2012-12-06 16:25

      Do yourself a favor, got to CNA an get yourself a dictionary.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 05:39

      Oh my boy, catch a wake-up and smell the coffee please. That's to say if you can at all WAKE-UP hey. The hero pilots you're referring to are NOT these ones who fly the aircrafts today. Though I know that there are still in the SADF Airforce a few proper pilots but if they still fly or not I wouldn't know. Latter day pilots has absolute NO achievements accredited to their name yet, so please don't broadcast your ignorance so publicly okay. You're only making a fool of yourself.

      JManAtheoi - 2012-12-07 07:50

      @ robi. This pilot was excellent. And a great, friendly, loving and caring guy, and a good father. And so young. He will be sorely missed. :( As will the rest of the deceased.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 17:18

      JManAtheoi. His UNTIMELY demise IS very SAD as well as heartbreaking, and so is the death of all the people related to this very unfortunate event. That he was an excellent pilot I cannot dispute for I was NEVER privileged to know the gentleman. All I'm trying to drive HOME in my comment is that it HAPPENED and nobody should react RUDE or OFFENSIVE to any-other's comment. (Please!!!! Let us all try and respect one another as well as each other's understanding, comprehension and TAKE on this very sad occurrence). Human error can NEVER be ruled out in any air disaster, so if someone feels, prematurely even, that human error is to be blamed, so be it. IF after thorough investigation the contrary is proved, only THEY will be shown as FOOLS in their presumptions. THEY'LL be the ASHAMED ones to apologise. (Please NOTE, my previous VERY bad comment against YOUR character was ONLY meant with regards to your VERY bad reply to THAT gentleman and NOT in general okay).

  • desiree.dewaal1 - 2012-12-06 15:18

    My sincerest and deepest condolences to Zandri and her family. I pray God will comfort them in this time.

  • lourens.smith.75 - 2012-12-06 16:30

    A special Prayr to all who lost they,re loved ones! May God carry you! And to all with they,re uncalled for comments and clever thoughts know that it will take a similar sad and emotional event with your loved ones for you to realise that its not easy nor pleasant! Idiots!!!!!

  • alan.montgomery2 - 2012-12-06 17:55

    The Dak is past its sell by date.How about the SANDF buying 1Times fleet.Now we have no Shacks no Daks and no subs.Come on JZ the SANDF is a nation defender and national pride builder.I propose we look at all our national symbols and investigate how we can enhance them.

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-07 05:43

      Old the DC3's might be yea, no arguments there BUT in the hands of a proper pilot it still remains a terrific aeroplane even today. Absolutely NOTHING wrong with it.

  • mark.jerling - 2012-12-07 01:31

    See 6 crew and 5 passengers deceased. Names not released at this stage.

  • mark.jerling - 2012-12-07 01:59

    Press release just issued. No survisors, all military crew and passengers. (No "medical team")

  • - 2012-12-07 07:09

    "He would not disclose how many people were on board "to prevent speculation"." - WHAT???? How brilliant that just 3 paragraphs later they ARE speculating that 11 were on board. What a terrible accident!

  • flouw2 - 2012-12-07 08:54

    To all those who made negative comments... These guys in the airforce wil be the ones that wil be helping you in time of need! You wil be the scary little ones that wil be the first to jump in that aircraft to get out of a terabil situation! Stop making negative comments is you have no idea what you are talking about!

      robi.schwab.3 - 2012-12-08 10:39

      @flouw2, ± are acredible to all comments passed on every situation of life you know. After all, what IS negative and what IS positive. You wouldn't know now would you. For what you might interpret as being negative could in fact be something VERY positive for someone else who sees it in a different perspective or from a different angle than yourself. so now, this fact acknowledged, what's your point again?

  • barend.dippenaar - 2012-12-07 09:38

    Will they tell us who the pilot was, whether he was indeed properly qualified and competent, or "pushed" into getting his wings as result of pressure by the minister of Defence? I feel for the families, but how many more accidents will this govt. be comfortable with just to try and prove a racist point?

  • barend.dippenaar - 2012-12-07 09:48

    We cannot afford to keep the most modern jet planes flying so we have to fly old reconditioned junk because building presidential palaces, having million dollar parties, overseas flights for ministers. their kids, nannies, uncles and aunties, all five wives, gogo's, and sangomas have emptied the national purse. No wonder Pravin Gordhan pleads with us to pay, pay, pay. The money must come from somewhere. Guess who! The flea-infested oppressors, of course.

  • ruaan.ferreira.9 - 2012-12-07 10:41

    There is way too much worrying going on for the plane and too little for the pilot and other that were on it.......just an observation....SAD

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