Benoni aircraft only in flight for three minutes before crash

2016-02-04 08:04

Benoni residents describe close encounter with crashed plane

2016-02-03 17:02

A light aircraft crashed into shacks in Watville, Benoni, on the East Rand, on Wednesday. See scenes from the wreck and hear eyewitness accounts.WATCH

Johannesburg – The light aircraft that crashed in Wattville, Benoni on Wednesday had only been in flight for three minutes before it went down, killing all three people on board, said paramedics.

Ekurhuleni EMS spokesperson, William Ntladi, said the plane had taken off at 11:15 from the Brakpan Airfield and was headed to Mokgopong in Limpopo. At 11:18, an alert was issued that a plane had gone down.

"The cause of the crash is unknown," Ntladi said.

The small aircraft landed in a park usually used by local children to play netball and soccer in the afternoons. The field was nearly empty as children were in school at the time.
Ntladi said that the aircraft went down and burst into flames.

A group of boys who had been close to the park took buckets and headed to the scene where they tried to douse the flames and rescue the three passengers – an Austrian couple in their 60s as well as their pilot, who was of a similar age.

All three of them, however, died on the scene.

Officials work at the crash scene in Wattville, Benoni. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Part of plane hit shack

A part of the plane, believed to be a portion of the wing, landed on a shack at a nearby house. The impact broke open one side of the shack. Luckily, there was no one inside at the time.

The plane was lying upside down on the field next to a netball pole. A bag and pair of takkies lay on the scene while the passenger seats lay outside the aircraft.

Rolls of silver foil flapped around as investigators combed the area for clues, taking pictures.

By the late afternoon, scores of curious children had gathered wanting to know what had happened. Some locals took out their cellphones and snapped pictures.

Children look on outside a shack where part of an aircraft had crashed. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Nokuthula Zulu told News24 that she had just exited her yard and was sitting under a tree at the field when she saw one of the wings of the plane hit the roof of her sister's shack.

"I saw the plane swaying from side to side coming straight for me. As I tried to stand up, it came straight for me. I fell to the ground," she said.

She managed to get up and run into the yard and mere seconds later, she saw it hit the field and burst into flames.

Ntladi said reports from the scene suggested that it was shrapnel from the plane that had hit the shack.

Shack owner, Cebisile Zulu, said city officials had since come to her and informed her that they would fix her shack.

"I hope they really do fix it because we have nowhere else to sleep," said the mother of two.  

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  air crashes

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