Friday, December 06, 2013

Pilot dies in crash - South Africa

Well-known local resident and pilot, Keith Irwin (61), died on Friday afternoon when his light aircraft crashed during take-off at The Coves estate where he lived.

Keith, a long-time resident of Hartbeespoort and owner of the Top Flight Academy flight school at the Brits Airfield, took off from The Coves in his two-seater aircraft shortly after 13:30 to fly to Mahikeng. According to eyewitnesses, the plane made strange noises when it took off and then crashed just over the estate’s fence onto a neighboring farm.

Keith had more than 25 years’ flight experience.

According to Loanne Louw from the Hartbeespoort Emergency Services, Keith was already dead with the paramedics’ arrival on the scene.

Brits Airfield chairman, Roel Jansen, said Keith was an accomplished pilot and the airfield wants to express its deep-felt sympathy to his daughter and other family members.

“At this stage it seems as if the aircraft stalled shortly after take-off, according to what eyewitnesses saw. The civil aviation authorities are investigating the cause,” he said.

“Keith was in the process of establishing a pilot training school for disadvantaged communities in Pilanesberg, in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry, at the time of his death,” Roel said.