Businessman, sister killed in Vaal Dam chopper crash

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
The NSRI rescue crew. (File photo: Jamey Gordon)
The NSRI rescue crew. (File photo: Jamey Gordon)
  • Two people died after a helicopter crashed into the Vaal Dam.
  • A man in a canoe paddled to the crash site and managed to pull the woman out of the wreckage, but she had not survived.
  • The pilot's body was removed from the wreckage later in the evening.

A businessman and his sister died when the helicopter he was piloting crashed into the Vaal Dam on Friday night.

"There was no warning," the Vaal Marina Community Policing Forum's (CPF) Kevin Prinsloo said on Saturday.

Prinsloo said a student fishing near the crash site got into his canoe and paddled frantically towards the burning helicopter. He managed to remove the woman but she had not survived the crash.

The body of the pilot was later found in the wreckage.

Two Beagle dogs were also found dead.

Netwerk24 reported the pilot was well-known businessman Essie Esterhuysen, who had been treating his sister, Dané, to a weekend away.

He had fetched her by helicopter in Wilderness in the Southern Cape on Friday.

As he was preparing to land, the helicopter apparently dropped into the water.

ALSO READ | Man, 66, drowns at Hermanus Lagoon

Esterhuysen was the founder and director of the Esgro Group, which specialised in starting franchises like Wimpy and Steers.

CPF member Wynand van der Walt was among the emergency support team members who rushed to the scene.

"I tried CPR but it was too late already," he said of efforts to help the woman.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre sounded the alarm and a massive rescue team, including police divers, Netcare 911 and ER24 ambulance services, was activated. 

Jacobus ‘Essie’ Esterhuysen, who is described as a
Jacobus "Essie" Esterhuysen, who is described as an experienced and safety-conscious pilot. Photo: Supplied

The NSRI also launched a rescue craft. The helicopter was found near the Vaal Marina, about 200 metres offshore.

"It is believed the helicopter was en route from Rand Airport to the Vaal Dam, with a Johannesburg pilot, his sister and two dogs," the NSRI said.

On Saturday, the NSRI Vaal Dam, police divers and officers, a police helicopter and Midvaal Fire and Rescue Services worked at the wreckage, under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority.

Prinsloo said the wreckage was lifted from the water on Saturday, and an investigation was under way.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said the Accident and Incident Investigations Division was notified of the crash at Sunset Cove.

"There were two occupants on board. Both occupants were fatally injured.

"The process of gathering more information that will assist in determining the cause of the accident has begun."


Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Do you think South Africa needs tighter restrictions to combat the third wave?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the situation is grim and needs serious measures
29% - 3154 votes
No, we cannot afford more lockdowns
32% - 3392 votes
Yes, but only in provinces where it is out of control
39% - 4190 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.19
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
19.76
+0.5%
Rand - Euro
16.94
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.77
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,775.08
-0.2%
Silver
25.96
+0.3%
Palladium
2,648.77
+1.3%
Platinum
1,100.57
+0.9%
Brent Crude
75.19
+0.5%
Top 40
60,188
+0.7%
All Share
66,264
+0.7%
Resource 10
63,672
+1.1%
Industrial 25
87,124
+0.4%
Financial 15
13,010
+0.9%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE