Pilot dies in Pretoria plane crash

Johannesburg - A pilot was killed in a light aircraft crash at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria on Tuesday morning, Sinoville police said.

“At around 7.35am, the plane was in a lift-off when it crashed in the airport grounds,” said police spokeswoman Mirna von Benecke.

A Zambia air force plane crashed during a routine training exercise, killing two people including the force's second-in-command.

“Only one person was on the plane.”

No one was on the grounds at the time, and no other injuries were reported, she said.

The pilot was identified, but the name could not be released.

Von Benecke said she was unable to provide further details on the matter.

Civil Aviation Authority spokeswoman Phindiwe Gwebu referred all queries to the department of transport.

The department's deputy director general for aviation, Zakele Thwala, could not release the name of the pilot.

“Proper protocol has to be followed. The name of the deceased will not be released today 1/8Tuesday 3/8,” he said.

Before the crash, the pilot had made a distress call.

“He had declared an emergency, but then when he turned (the plane), it crashed,” said Thwala.

The airport was operating as usual despite the accident. The cause of the accident was not known.

The City of Tshwane said it was a light single-engine aircraft that was privately owned.

“The body is being recovered at the moment,” said spokesman Blessing Manale in a statement.

He said the CAA's accident investigators were still at the scene by mid-afternoon.

“The accident scene is managed by the CAA and (we) cannot reveal the name of the pilot.

“It is their prerogative once the next of kin is informed.”

Manale said a report would be produced only after the investigation was completed.

“No speculation on the possible cause should be allowed.

“As the accident scene is owned by the CAA, only they are allowed to provide possible detail on the accident. We do not have authority in this regard.”

Airport management declined to give details.