Suicide plane crash 'not the first' in Botswana - report

2019-03-26 07:17
The damage following the plane crash.

The damage following the plane crash. (Supplied)

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The apparent suicide plane crash that took place in Botswana at the weekend was reportedly not the first in that country. 

Pilot Charl Viljoen, 37, flew a plane into a facility at the Matsieng Aerodrome in Botswana on Saturday, News24 reported

It is alleged that Viljoen, who EWN reported was South African, was involved in a domestic dispute with his wife, Natasha, before the incident.

In a video that went viral, the aircraft is seen flying very low before hitting a structure at the clubhouse, leaving nearby vehicles destroyed, with some in flames. Wreckage of both burnt vehicles and parts of the plane were seen scattered around the facility.

On Tuesday, Times Live reported that a similar incident took place in October 1999, when a "disgruntled pilot nearly wiped out the Air Botswana fleet, at the time the only scheduled air operator in that country".

BBC News reported that Chris Phatswe, a Botswana airline pilot, killed himself by crashing a plane into the airport. He reportedly hit two other aircraft at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone.

Phatswe had reportedly been grounded for medical reasons and was transferred to the position of aircraft safety officer.

"He took off from the airport in a Botswana Air aircraft without permission and radioed the control tower to say he intended to kill himself," Times Live reported. 

Meanwhile, a friend of Viljoen realised something was wrong on Saturday when Viljoen called him from the aircraft asking about his wife's whereabouts, Netwerk24 reported on Monday.

An unnamed pilot told the publication that the friend then screamed for everyone to get out of the building.

Viljoen, who worked for Kalahari Air Services, was the only casualty in the crash.

'Uninvited guest'

According to Matsieng Flying Club, the 2016 Beechcraft Kingair B200 aircraft A2-MBM was involved in a ground impact incident resulting in the death of the pilot and the destruction of infrastructure at the aerodrome.

The club in a statement said that Viljoen had been an "uninvited guest at a private function".

The couple had attended a stork party at the club and had ostensibly had an argument. Other guests had told a drunk Viljoen to leave, Netwerk24 reported.

He had left the club by car and headed to the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, where Kalahari Air Services is based.

EWN reported that Viljoen started work at Kalahari Air Services in October last year. Netwerk24 said the couple had lived in Botswana for the past 10 years. 

Read more on:    botswana  |  air crashes  |  southern africa
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