Close call leaves aircraft seriously damaged

Niël Terblanché

A twin-engine Cessna 406 belonging to Westair, a Windhoek based aviation company, en route from Eros Airport to the B2Gold mining site north of Otjiwarongo, was involved in an emergency landing on Wednesday.

The incident was confirmed by Hafeni Moshixwa, a senior aircraft accident investigator at the Directorate of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations.

Moshixwa said the light aircraft had two pilots and a senior manager of the mining group onboard when the incident occurred. According to Moshixwa, the pilots declared an emergency when the aircraft’s elevator flaps became inoperable. At this stage, it is suspected that the main controlling cable was damaged, causing the elevator flaps to stop working.

He said the pilots decided to perform the emergency landing because they had very little control over the aircraft. The emergency landing was performed on a farm in the vicinity of the Osire refugee camp southeast of Otjiwarongo.

According to Moshixwa, the pilots had to be very creative to get the aircraft safely on the ground while avoiding bushes, trees, and anthills. He said the aircraft sustained serious damage, but neither of the pilots nor their passenger was injured.

“The passenger was, however, airlifted by helicopter from the scene of the incident and taken to a hospital, where he was kept for observation.

The passenger has been discharged from the medical facility in the meantime,” he said. Moshixwa said that an investigation into the incident is already underway and that a formal report about what mechanical malfunction caused the incident will be made available at a later stage.”

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