Namibia joins search for missing Botswana helicopter: Mwatile

23 Apr 2014 17:00

 The Ministry of Works and Transport and the Namibian Police Force
(NamPol)'s Air Wing unit on Wednesday launched a search mission for a
missing helicopter from neighbouring Botswana.

The Helicopter BPS 02-Type AS35, which is white in colour with blue
stripes, took off from Gumare in Botswana's North-West District on
Sunday at 17h05 heading for Maun, and has not been seen since.

It did not arrive at its destination, and the Botswana Search and
Rescue Coordination Centre has been searching for it since Monday this
week until Wednesday, with no success.

The Windhoek Air Traffic Control Centre has now launched a search-
and-rescue mission for the missing helicopter, Ministry of Works and
Transport Permanent Secretary Peter Mwatile confirmed in a media
statement availed to Nampa on Wednesday.

The statement said a helicopter belonging to NamPol (V5 HPA) left the
Eros airport on the southern outskirts of Windhoek on Wednesday
morning at about 05h13, and was destined for the search area.

The NamPol helicopter entered the search area shortly after a fuel
let-down in Tsumkwe in the Otjozondjupa region.

According to Mwatile, another search mission using fixed-wing aircraft
was also conducted by the Namibian authorities in the search area of
the missing helicopter on Tuesday afternoon, but nothing has so far
been spotted.

Gaborone radar footage indicate that the missing Botswana helicopter
allegedly made a U-turn before it went out of the radar coverage, as
it was flying low.

Other unconfirmed reports indicate that the missing helicopter could
have crossed into Namibia, some 23 kilometres west of Divundu in the
Kavango East region.

Police commanding officers in Rundu and Bagani have also been put on
standby for any ground-rescue operation.

The Namibian authorities thus requested any member of the public with
significant information in connection with the missing helicopter to
contact the Windhoek Air Traffic Control Centre at (061) 702086, or
Chief Air Traffic Controller Victor Likando at (061) 702071 or on his
mobile phone at 0812085857.