6 December 2012

South Africa: Eleven Die in SAAF Aircraft Crash

Photo: gvgoebel/flickr
Douglas C-47 Dakota

Pretoria — The South African Air Force (SAAF) has confirmed that a rescue team located the wreckage of a C-47 Dakota aircraft this morning in the Drakensberg mountains.

"It is with regret and a great sense of loss that we confirm the loss of SAAF members in an aircraft accident, which occurred on 5 December 2012 in the area of Giants Castle within Drakensberg mountain range. On board the aircraft was a crew of six and five passengers and it was confirmed that there are no survivors," said the Air Force in a statement.

A board of inquiry has been convened to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident.

The SAAF said the aircraft was flying from Air Force Base Waterkloof at about 7.45am to Mthatha Airport on an official task and went missing around 9.45am.

"After the expected time of arrival and no communication from the aircraft, the SAAF activated a search and rescue mission. Severe weather conditions in the area hindered the continuation of the search and rescue effort.

"At first light this morning, the rescue team continued their effort and located the wreckage in the Drakensberg Mountains," it said.

The South African National Defence Force has commenced with the process of informing the next of kin of the deceased members. The names of the deceased will be released when all the next of kin have been informed.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, and the Chief of the Air Force Lt Gen Zimpande Msimang have conveyed their sincere and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased.

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