Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pilot fled accident scene - Cessna 210M Centurion, V5-VVJ, Scenic Air, Swakopmund, Namibia

The pilot of the ill-fated Cessna 210 aircraft of Scenic Air (V5-VVJ) that crashed last Friday a few kilometres from the Rössing mountain near Swakopmund allegedly left the four shocked and injured passengers at the plane’s wreck and hastily fled the scene with a friend, Informanté learnt this week through sources close to the air accident investigation. 

Investigators still have a lot of questions for the pilot, Courtney Bray (20), one of which will be her reasons for leaving the scene. Bray might not have erred in leaving the scene, but for a relatively uninjured pilot to have left injured passengers and a crash scene behind seemed odd to many in the aviation fraternity this week.

Both pilot and the four passengers survived the crash and neither did anyone sustain any life-threatening injuries.

The plane went down shortly after 17h00 last Friday, due to engine failure caused either by a mechanical malfunction, fuel-starvation or pilot-error. The plane lost power very close to the ground and struck the ground with its port side wing tip first, followed by a horizontal cart wheel movement that sent the nose crashing into the ground and damaging the starboard wingtip. The wreck came to a stand-still with its nose facing the direction from which the plane originally flew.

Damage to the propeller blades indicates a loss of power in the moments before the plane hit the ground. The propeller broke off and stayed behind as momentum sent the wreckage ploughing over the ground in the horizontal cartwheel movement.

The Department of Civil Aviation dislodged the damaged wings and tail of the plane this week and sealed the entire aircraft wreck in a container and transported it to Windhoek. The wreck is now being systematically investigated at an undisclosed location at the Eros suburban airport in Windhoek. Informanté learnt accident investigators are anxious to get in contact with the pilot, Courtney Bray, as there are still many grey areas where answers are needed.

The survivors of the crash are: Courtney Bray (20) originally from South Africa, Christel Reinhard (57), Iris Ruth Gebhard (57), Schneider Gebhard (45) and Marcel Gebhard (17), all German citizens touring Namibia.


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