Plane crash: No clarity on what led SA pilot to fly into Botswana building – report

2019-03-25 15:55
The damage following the plane crash.

The damage following the plane crash. (Supplied)

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There's been conflicting accounts about what happened before South African pilot Charl Viljoen crashed a plane into the Matsieng Flying Club facility at Matsieng Aerodrome in Botswana. 

Prior to the tragedy on Saturday, Viljoen and his wife had attended a baby shower at the facility. 

"The deceased pilot was an uninvited guest at a private function that was held at the Matsieng Flying Club facility at Matsieng Aerodrome. It is rumoured that the pilot was involved in a domestic dispute earlier in the afternoon," read the statement from the Matsieng Flying club. 

News24 sister website, Netwerk24 spoke to Mark Mansfield from the club, who said there were rumours that Viljoen and his wife, Natasha, caused a scene but it is unclear what the issue was. 

Natasha's sister, Naruschka Winter, disputes this, saying she doesn't think the couple had a fight. She, however, did not want to speculate about what happened. 

The Citizen reported that it had received a voice note in which a man named only as Chris alleges to have spoken to one of the survivors and witnesses.

"They had a party at Matsieng, a baby shower, and that's one of the Kalahari Air Services pilots, and he had a fight with his wife there and he actually hit his wife, and everybody told him to f**k off because you don't treat a woman like that."

Viljoen is believed to have then left the club by car and headed to the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, where Kalahari Air Services is based.

It is unclear how he got access to the 2016 Beechcraft Kingair B200 aircraft A2-MBM.

'Something amiss'

A friend of Viljoen's realised something was wrong when the pilot called him from the aircraft asking about his wife's whereabouts, Netwerk24 reported.

An unnamed pilot told the publication that the friend had realised something was amiss and screamed for everyone to get out of the building.

Viljoen made several low-level fly-pasts from different directions before crashing into the building. 

He died when the plane hit the structure, destroying some vehicles in the nearby parking area. 

EWN reported that Viljoen started working at Kalahari Air Services in October last year.

Netwerk24 said the couple, who attended Hoerskool Zeerust in the North West together, had lived in Botswana for the past 10 years.

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