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Johannesburg - It is important to establish why a military aircraft crashed in the Drakensberg near Ladysmith on Thursday, killing 11 people, the Democratic Alliance said.
“We have to get to the bottom of why the aircraft was allowed to operate in such poor weather conditions, and what caused the aircraft to crash,” DA Defence and Military Veterans spokesman David Maynier said.
The SA National Defence Force said 11 people, including six SA Air Force members, died when the aircraft crashed.
“On board the aircraft was a crew of six and five passengers, and it was confirmed that there are no survivors,” spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said.
“The SANDF has commenced with the process of informing the next-of-kin of the deceased members.”
He said the names of the deceased will be released when all the next-of-kin had been informed of the crash.
A board of inquiry had been convened to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident, Dlamini added.
Maynier welcomed the board of inquiry, saying it was important to establish the cause of the accident.
“The DA extends its condolences to the family and friends of the 11 members of the defence force who died in the crash,” he added.
The Dakota aircraft went missing en route to Mthatha after it took off from Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Wednesday. It was expected to land in Mthatha at 10am.
After no communication from the aircraft, the SAAF activated a search and rescue mission but severe weather conditions in the area hindered the operation.
“At first light this morning, the rescue team continued their efforts and located the wreckage in the Drakensberg mountains,” said Dlamini. - Sapa