Two die after plane loses wing

Two people died when a small aircraft crashed on to Vergelegen farm outside Somerset West in the Western Cape at about 2.20pm on Tuesday, police said.

“The pilot was performing flying techniques when one of the wings fell off.

“The pilot lost control and crashed on to the privately owned farm,” said police spokesperson Captain Elliot Sinyangana.

Metro emergency spokesperson Dr Wayne Smith said farmworkers and ground crew found the detached wing of the plane on the farm.

A search and rescue helicopter was dispatched to the scene and found the fuselage of a plane, presumed to be an aerobatics plane, some distance from the wing.

Smith said judging by the severe damage to the plane, the wing probably came off at high altitude, leaving the pilot and co-pilot with no control.

“The impact was very hard and both pilots died instantly.”

Sinyangana said their bodies were unidentifiable and completely “broken into pieces”.

Police have not yet been able to confirm their identities.

“We want to make sure that they are the same people who took off from Stellenbosch airport,” he said.

Once it has been established who they were, the relevant authorities will inform their families.

Police cordoned off the area.

Sinyangana said a team from the civil aviation authority will arrive on Wednesday morning to begin an investigation into the accident.

Vergelegen dates to the governorship of Willem Adriaan van der Stel in the 17th century.

Two people were treated for minor injuries on Tuesday following a light aircraft accident near Barrydale. No further details were available.

Air traffic control at Cape Town International airport did not want to divulge any particulars.

A helicopter crash-landed in Vereeniging on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after a pilot was killed when a police helicopter crashed on to a house in Benoni.—Sapa

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