Maputo — Prominent businessman Rogerio Manuel, the former chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), died on Saturday in a helicopter crash in southern Mozambique.
According to Joao Abreu, chairperson of the regulatory body, the Mozambique Civil Aviation Institute (IACM), the causes of the accident are not yet known.
He said Manuel was flying the helicopter alone, on a flight from Maputo to the tourist resort of Bilene in Gaza province. The helicopter took off from Maputo airport at 20.30 and the flight to Bilene should have taken 30 minutes.
The helicopter was only in contact with the control tower for five minutes after take-off. Three hours after that last contact, an emergency message was sent out, with an alert on the disappearance of the helicopter.
"We lost a Mozambican citizen in this flight", said Abreu, without mentioning Manuel's name, on the grounds that the next of kin had not yet been informed.
The helicopter was flying at an altitude of 1,000 feet and at a velocity of 180 kilometres an hour. The helicopter belonged to Emapemo, a company that hires out aircraft.
Abreu pointed out that in Mozambique aircraft and pilots may not fly at night unless certified to do so. The IACM is now investigating whether the helicopter and Manuel were certified to make nocturnal flights.