Pilot critical after crash at farm

2018-06-19 16:44
Emergency services and local farmers work to extract a critically injured pilot from a plane wreck on Monday in the Dargle Valley.

Emergency services and local farmers work to extract a critically injured pilot from a plane wreck on Monday in the Dargle Valley. (Midlands EMS)

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A pilot was critically injured on Monday when his light aircraft crashed into a hillside on a farm in the usually quiet Dargle Valley.

The incident occurred on Highveld farm, police said.

The 35-year-old pilot — whose name was not released by police on Monday — had reportedly been hired to fly the plane to a new owner in Bethlehem.

Emergency services and local farmers flocked to the scene and the trapped pilot had to be cut from the wreckage and was airlifted to hospital.

The farmer and his wife declined to speak to The Witness at the scene on Monday and demanded the reporter and photographer leave the property.

According to KZN EMS spokesperson Robert McKenzie, emergency services had to navigate steep and rocky terrain to reach the wreckage and the critically injured man.

McKenzie said the Jaws of Life were used to “cut the crashed frame of the aircraft away from the pilot, who was trapped inside”.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said the man had suffered multiple injuries.

After the man was stabilised, he was airlifted by the IPSS Medical helicopter to a nearby hospital.

The Witness was told that the plane was seen sputtering in the air before apparently crash landing.

South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said the organisation had sent an investigator to the Dargle Valley “immediately after being notified of the accident”.

“The process of determining the probable cause of the accident has started,” he said.

“The completion of an investigation is marked by the release of a final accident report, which would also contain safety recommendations aimed at improving the levels of safety and preventing a similar accident.

“As with all accident investigations, witnesses will be interviewed in order to gather all the necessary evidence relevant to this process,” he added.


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