Monday, September 29, 2014

Concern raised over plane crashes

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) has expressed concern at the recent spate of accidents involving small aircraft occurring in the country.

“While the number of accidents has been declining over the years, we as the Sacaa and the aviation community cannot take solace in statistics, as one life lost is just one too many,” director of civil aviation Poppy Khoza said.

According to a report, despite a spike of 92 lives lost in 2008, there had been a steady decrease from 176 in 2006 to 22 in 2013, culminating in a 7% average annual decline in accidents. In the latest incident 20-year-old pilot Jean-Marc du Plessis, was forced to make an emergency landing after his Cessna plane ran out of fuel en route from Cape Town to Wonderboom Airport.

On average, there are about 20 fatal aircraft accidents a year, resulting in an average of 40 fatalities per annum, the aviation authority said.

September has been a harrowing month for light aircraft accidents. There was a fatal accident on Thursday, when a Matrix vehicle tracking helicopter crashed near Rand Airport, killing a man and a woman.

Travellers on the N12 in Kimberley were shocked to see the plane, piloted by Du Plessis, landing on the highway on Sunday afternoon. Matrix managing director Brenda Horan said they took incidents of this nature very seriously.

This follows an accident in which two Sudanese men were killed when their plane crashed into a small stream in Glencalder outside Newcastle, KwaZulu Natal the previous week.

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