16 Aug 2015 18:50pm
By Francois Lottering
WINDHOEK, 16 AUG (NAMPA) A Namibian medical plane transporting an 80-year-old patient who required urgent medical care, crashed near the Cape Town International Airport early on Sunday.
All five people who were aboard the aircraft perished in the crash. They have been identified as 53-year-old pilot, Steven Naude; his 23-year-old co-pilot Amore Espag; Alfred John Ward, 23, who was the paramedic; the 80-year-old patient Gabriel le Roux; and his daughter Charmaine Koortzen, who accompanied her father to Cape Town.
Le Roux was flown from Oranjemund to Cape Town early on Sunday morning. Their E-Med Rescue 24 air ambulance left Windhoek at around 02h00.
It arrived at Oranjemund at around 04h00.
The doomed aircraft took off from Oranjemund shortly after 04h00.
Bertus Struwig of E-Med Rescue 24 told Nampa earlier on Sunday that at around 06h00, they were contacted by the South African authorities, who said they had lost contact with the pilots.
The aircraft was supposed to land at the Cape Town International Airport at around 06h00.
It was then that we mobilised the search and rescue unit from Cape Town and shortly after 07h00 they confirmed that they found the wreck of the aircraft, Struwig told this news agency.
It remains unclear what caused the accident, although South African media earlier reported that the radar network, which guides aircrafts, was out of order. There were also reports from South Africa that the SA airports authority reportedly requested the pilot to do an instrument landing under difficult weather conditions.
Struwig told this reporter in an telephonic interview on Sunday that the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) confirmed that the radar was off, and that the aircraft was already in its final approach to land when the accident took place.
Meanwhile The 'Mzansi Daily', a South African newspaper reported that contact was lost with the aircraft shortly before 07h00.
The paper further reported that it is understood from ACSA that all aircraft approaching Cape Town International Airport at the time were placed in a holding pattern due to a technical fault with their radars.
The E-med Rescue 24 aircraft was also in the holding pattern at the time.
Although there is a lot of speculation regarding the exact cause of the crash, the South African Civil Aviation Authority were on the scene to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, it was announced in the paper.
The aircraft went down about seven kilometres from the Cape Town International Airport and crashed in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve.