2 die in E Cape plane crash
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Cape Town - Two people were killed and one critically injured when a small aircraft crashed into the side of a mountain in the Kou-kamma area in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.
“It is an absolute tragedy,” Carl Trahms, owner of Smhart Security in Jeffreys Bay, said from the scene.
Trahms and one of his security officers, Paul Nel, were among the first on the scene in Palmietvlei where the crash happened. Reports of an aircraft crash came in at about 11am, he said. Information available at the time suggested the plane went down near a wind farm in the area.
“Our guys went searching for the aircraft and came across it on the side of a cliff. It took us more than an hour to reach the crash site by foot as it was quite a climb through dense vegetation to get there.”
When they arrived they found the wreckage of a 187 Cessna. There were four occupants – two women, a man and a Jack Russell dog – inside the wreckage.
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Gerda Swart said the women – a 57-year-old and a 50-year-old – died in the crash, while the pilot, whose age could not be confirmed, sustained serious injuries. “He was airlifted to a Port Elizabeth hospital for treatment,” Swart said.
Trahms said the pilot sustained severe injuries to his leg. “There are fears that he could lose his leg. He also had a lot of blood on his face.”
He said the dog was unharmed.
Although Swart did not want to speculate about the cause of the crash, Trahms said early indications were that a gust of wind could have forced the aircraft into the side of a cliff. He said it appeared as though it then slid about 100m down the side of the mountain before coming to a standstill.
“It basically disintegrated on impact and there is almost nothing left of the aircraft.”
Trahms said an army helicopter assisted with airlifting the survivor to hospital.
“The first person to reach the scene was a paramedic who was lowered to the crash site.”
He said it was believed the plane had left Graaff-Reinet on Wednesday morning en route to Plettenberg Bay. Those on board are believed to be from Pretoria.
Attempts to reach the SA Civil Aviation Authority for comment were unsuccessful.