VIDEO: Tributes pour in for olympic canoeist Mark Perrow who died in KZN plane crash
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Durban - Messages of condolences are streaming in following the death of canoeists Mark Perrow in a light aircraft crash in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands on Sunday.
A group of kayakers observed the aircraft crash in the Umkhomazi river valley in KwaZulu-Natal.
Perrow,55, was alone in the light aircraft when it crashed. Perrow is a South African sprint canoer who competed in the early 1990s.
According to Wikipedia, at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, he was eliminated in the semifinals of both the K-1 1000 m and the K-4 1000 m events. He won the Dusi Canoe Marathon as a single in 1997 and won the Dusi in a double in 1992 and 1996 with Neil Evans, and in 2000 with Martin Dreyer.
Perrow was one of the country’s most successful canoeists, with multiple wins in all the major South African marathons – the Berg River Marathon, Vaal River Marathon, Fish River Marathon and others, as well as many overseas races. He also won multiple South African titles in different facets of canoeing.
According to Paul Herbst of IPSS Medical rescue the Johannesburg Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) was thereafter activated. Details from eyewitnesses and SAPS Search and Rescue (SAR) were used to narrow down the area of interest. IPSS Medical Rescue and a private Gazelle helicopter were tasked with an IPSS EMT and 3 Mountain Club of South Africa volunteers to proceed to the scene.
Canoeists sent out an SOS after seeing a light aircraft crash into a cliff in the Umkomazi Valley in KwaZulu-Natal.
A KZN South Coast resident Thobelani Nqubeko Thobela who claims he saw Perrow's plane in distress wrote on Facebook that he saw a trail above his house which puzzled him as normally they're all straight showing the flight path.
".. but this one was straight then zigzags then straight for a short period then zigzags again in one direction. Only when running across this story on social media was I able to put 2 & 2 together that it must've been him & the pattern of the smoke trail indicates mechanical failure he was trying to wrestle in control," he wrote.
"My condolences to the family & friends. I live in the south coast & light planes constantly fly around here since its not a populas area so I've gotten used to spotting them & their smoke trail in the clouds which is very distinct,"added Thobela.
Herbst said, “The wreckage was located by the SAR units and unfortunately, this was not a survivable accident. The scene was handed to the SAPS and Accident and Incident Investigations Department."
The South African Police Services Search And Rescue and SAPS Airwing were also tasked to assist due to the nature of the terrain.