Friday, September 28, 2018

Taylorcraft BC12-D, ZS-BLD: Fatal accident occurred April 29, 2018 in Vryheid, Sangoma, Northern KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Octogenarians, Maxine Frisch and Claus Keuchel, who were tragically killed in a plane crash after the EAA National Convention in Vryheid.

NTSB Identification: WPR18WA138
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, April 29, 2018 in Vryheid, South Africa
Aircraft: TAYLORCRAFT BC12, registration:
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 29, 2018, at 1110 coordinated universal time, a Taylorcraft BC 12-D airplane, registration ZS-BLD, sustained substantial damage under unknown circumstances following a departure from Vryheid Aerodrome (FAVY), Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Both occupants were fatally injured.

The Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa, Accident & Incident Investigation Division (AIID) is investigating the accident. As the state of manufacture of the airplane, the NTSB has designated a US accredited representative to assist the AIID in its investigation.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to:

South African Civil Aviation Authority

Accidents and Incidents Investigation Division
Private Bag X 73
Halfway House 1685
South Africa

Tragedy struck in the wake of the recent EAA National Convention which took place in Vryheid at the end of April when a plane crash claimed the lives of two EAA members who had attended the event.

Claus Keuchel (83) and his partner, Maxine Frisch (85) were killed when the aircraft that they were heading home in crashed into a mountain just outside of Vryheid and many were left in utter disbelief at the news of their sudden passing.

“After a wonderful weekend spent with the EAA family in Vryheid, we awoke to the terrible news that one of the family members didn’t make it home safely,” wrote Garth Calitz on the FlightLine Weekly newsletter. “Claus Keuchel, a long-time member of the EAA, and his good lady, Maxine Frisch, unfortunately were involved in a fatal crash on their return flight from the Convention in Vryheid. Claus, you will be sorely missed, our sincere condolences to all the family and friends of these wonderful people.”

Mere hours before Claus and Maxine started the flight back home that would be their last, Claus was celebrated at the EAA’s prize giving for being the oldest flying member to attend.

Claus’ immaculately kept 76 year-old Taylorcraft BC12-D was retrieved from the mountain by Ken Taylor and other locals on Monday.

An octogenarian pilot and his woman friend died when their plane crashed into a mountain near Vryheid while on a joyride on Sunday.

The pilot (85), whose name is known to The Witness, had taken his 82-year-old woman friend on an excursion in the skies at the weekend when the tragedy occurred.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said although the crash occurred on Sunday, the wreckage of the aircraft was only found early on Monday morning by a Vryheid farmer.

Zwane could not confirm where the couple were from as he said the police were waiting for the next of kin to come forward.

“A local farmer at Vryheid noticed something on the mountain and went to investigate. He found that it was a light aircraft that crashed,” he said.

“Two bodies were found burnt and police were called to attend.”

He said a case of culpable homicide was opened at Vryheid police station.

Zwane added that the cause of the crash is thought to be misty conditions on Sunday afternoon.

Fellow aviators around the province said the man had been the oldest pilot to fly in a fixed wing aircraft in the country.

South African Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said as soon as the authority was notified of the crash, a team of investigators were sent to establish the possible cause of the accident.

“Details are still sketchy at this point, however, we can confirm that the wreckage was discovered this morning on a farm about 15 km from the Vryheid airport,” he said.

“The type of aircraft involved in this accident is known as the Taylorcraft [model BC 12-D].”

Ledwaba said that investigations into plane crashes can vary in complexity and might take time to complete.

He said the completion of any investigation is marked by the release of a final accident report, which contains safety recommendations aimed at improving the levels of safety and preventing a similar accident.

Ledwaba added that all pilots are expected to have a valid pilot’s licence and be medically fit in order to fly.

Investigations are ongoing.

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