Durban - Three men were killed when a light aircraft crashed in a sugarcane plantation near Camperdown late on Saturday afternoon.
While the cause of the crash remains unconfirmed and will be investigated by the Civil Aviation Authority on Sunday, witnesses reported that the Ravin 500 appeared to break up in flight while doing a low-level flypast.
Debris was scattered across an area of 800m from the point of the craft’s impact.
According to a first responder, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak to the press, the mangled wreckage of the light craft caught fire on impact.
“When we got to the scene of the crash, we found… two bodies near the fuselage.
“We then found a third body at the edge of the sugarcane and it looked like the man had been flung from the wreckage. He was also declared dead at the scene,” he said.
It is understood that the three men, from Durban, had taken delivery of the plane at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria and had been flying to Virginia Airport when they detoured to an unmarked landing strip near Camperdown.
Zhang Zhanwu, who lives near the scene of the crash, said he heard exploding sounds and immediately ran outside.
“I was shocked to see a wingless plane flying past. It crashed into the ground,” said Zhanwu.
An emergency services staff member at the scene confirmed the craft lost both its wings before hitting the ground.
Netcare 911 spokeswoman Santi Steinmann said their medics were at the scene.
“Netcare 911 paramedics, its rescue unit and other services responded to an aircraft accident.Arriving on the scene they found that a light aircraft had crashed, resulting in all three occupants losing their lives. The aircraft burst into flames after crashing,” she said.
Police Spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed the incident, but was not able to release the names of the deceased.
“We await the report from the Civil Aviation Authority to establish the cause of the crash,” he said.
CAA spokesman Gilbert Twala could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.