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IOL news nov 1 iol pic wld plane

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

Durban - Authorities are still searching for a Benoni pilot who has disappeared while flying from Margate to Mossel Bay.

Businessman Clifton (Cliffy) Pike had been due to land in Mossel Bay on Thursday.

He was due to compete at the Western Cape Regional Aerobatics Championship, to be held in Mossel Bay, this weekend.

He was reported missing at approximately 1.30pm on Wednesday.

According to the Pike’s stepson, Brogan Shrimpton, Pike had been flying along with another aircraft piloted by Rob du Plooy.

It is thought that the two planes had lost contact with each other between Kenton-on-Sea and Port Elizabeth.

Shrimpton said that as they flew through clouds, the men lost signal and sight of each other.

Du Plooy landed safely in Mossel Bay and raised the alarm when Pike did not also land.

Craig Reid, a flying instructor at the Aviator Training Academy, in Springs, and Pike’s best friend did not want to comment.

Pike is the chief executive officer for the flying school.

Reid’s wife, who did not want to be named, said the situation was still tense as Pike had not been found, and Pike was her husband’s best friend.

“We rather wait until the day is over before commenting.”

The school’s chief technical officer, Robert Heard, said he had no idea what could have happened to Pike, as he was supposed to have landed yesterday at Mossel Bay around 3pm in the afternoon.

“I would rather not comment at this stage. He is an experienced pilot. We are all searching for answeres to his dissapearance. At this stage we can not speculate what happened to Clifton’s aircraft,” said Heard.

Pike is believed to be flying a Giles 202 aircraft.

nkululeko.nene@inl.co.za

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