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HUNDREDS of people gathered at the Ysterplaat Air Force Base yesterday afternoon to pay tribute to 11 members of the SA Air Force (SAAF) who died in an aircraft crash in the Drakensberg.
The families of four of those killed, Major Kurt Misrole, Captain Zack Smith, Sergeant Eric Boes and Corporal Letshela Mofokeng, were present. Misrole, Smith and Boes were from Cape Town.
Others among those present were friends, Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, and SAAF chief Lieutenant-General Fabian Msimang.
Shortly before the memorial service, a flypast was performed by the Silver Falcons of the Langebaanweg Air Force Base. Relatives broke down as the planes flew over.
During the service, held in a hangar, Mapisa-Nqakula announced that relatives would have a chance on Monday to visit the scene where the C-47 Dakota crashed.
At the end of the service, there was an opportunity to lay flowers in front of photographs of Misrole, Smith, Boes and Mofokeng. Several relatives had to be supported as they made their way to the front.
Juan Gordon said Smith, his best friend, was “down to Earth”. Wensley Misrole described his son, who leaves his wife, as a “stalwart”.