Gauteng plane crash: Two dead as aircraft ‘falls short of the runway’

We’ve had it confirmed that two people died following the crash of a plane that belonged to the South African Air Force (SAAF). The tragic incident unfolded earlier on Wednesday, with the aircraft slamming to the ground and killing those on board. The scene of the wreckage has been located at the Swartkop Air Force Base in Gauteng.

Gauteng plane crash on Wednesday 17 March

Aviation experts for DefenceWeb posted this update earlier this afternoon, confirming the basic details of the crash. The two men killed were senior pilots who had served the SAAF before their retirement.

“A Patchen Explorer belonging to the South African Air Force (SAAF) Museum crashed near Air Force Base Swartkop today, killing two senior retired Air Force members. The aircraft went in short of the runway, and flames engulfed the wreckage.”

What caused the fatal SAAF incident?

The Aviation Safety Network has published a full account of what brought this plane down on Wednesday. According to the report, ‘carb icing’ – a freezing condition that can affect any carburetor under certain atmospheric conditions – is the suspected culprit. The craft fought to stay in the air, but it was to no avail – the Explorer was destroyed by fire upon impact.

“The vintage airplane was destroyed by an ensuing post-crash fire and the two people onboard were fatally injured. The Explorer was developed for pipeline patrol operation, aerial photography and law enforcement agencies. One witness reported that the airplane flew over his home sputtering badly, possibly due to carb icing.”

“The prototype was shipped to South Africa and evaluated by the SAAF’s Test Flight and Development Centre for use as a light recon forward air control aircraft, but was not quite what was required. As a result it languished in a hangar for many years before being donated to the SAAF Museum.”

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Presh JM Reporter

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