Lion Sands co-owner killed in crash

Lion Sands Private Game Reserve CEO, Nicholas More, 46, was among those killed in a helicopter accident. Picture: Handout/Supplied

Lion Sands Private Game Reserve CEO, Nicholas More, 46, was among those killed in a helicopter accident. Picture: Handout/Supplied

Published Apr 24, 2013


Mpumalnaga - Lion Sands Private Game Reserve CEO Nicholas More and his three passengers died when their helicopter crashed in Mpumalanga, More Hotels said on Wednesday.

More, 45, was piloting the Robinson R44 helicopter when it crashed in the Schoemanskloof valley, between Nelspruit and Lydenburg, around 8am on Tuesday.

"All four passengers - three men and one woman - were confirmed dead upon the police's arrival at the scene," Mpumalanga police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi said.

More established the 4000ha Lion Sands Private Game Reserve with his brother Robert More in the world famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, close to the Kruger National Park, in 1999.

He is survived by his wife Jean and four sons.

Local media reported the other three victims had been identified as Pierre de Villiers, Lance Cooper and Elmarie Martens.

More had been on his way to Johannesburg for a business meeting, said More Hotels.

The helicopter was scheduled to land at Midrand Grand Central airport. More's flight instructor Roger Mortlock said it left Casterbridge, in White River, at 6.30am.

The wreckage was found on the Sondagskraal farm around noon. It was suspected that heavy mist might have been a contributing factor in the crash, but this could not be confirmed.

Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport managing director Marius Nel said full details of the crash could not yet be disclosed.

"The incident has been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority, who have to investigate the circumstances surrounding the crash before full details can be disclosed," he said.

Sabi Sand CEO Andrew Parker said relatives and friends were still in shock, and unable to speak to reporters.

"The issue is very sensitive and everyone is still in shock. We have yet to process all the details," he said.

Francois Lourens, a close friend of Cooper, said both Cooper and More's families were devastated by the news.

"You never expect a loved one to die in a helicopter crash. It was very unexpected and the families are devastated."

Cooper co-owned of Daybreak Timber Marketing, and was the former CEO of York Timber Holdings.

Under More's tenure Lion Sands won numerous international accolades, including the title of Best Luxury Lodge in the World at the 2009 World Luxury Hotel Awards.

More matriculated from Saint Andrew's College in Grahamstown in 1985, and obtained a BCom economics degree at Stellenbosch University.

He worked for 12 years as a portfolio manager at Rand Merchant Bank before turning his focus to eco-tourism and luxury safari businesses.

On March 30, five SA National Defence Force soldiers died in a helicopter crash in the Kruger National Park, in Mpumalanga. - Sapa

*This article was edited at 11:55 on April 24, 2013.

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