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Mail & Guardian Online reporter and Sapa, Sapa-AFP21 Oct 2008 16:05
Four of the six people who died when their aircraft crashed in Germiston on Tuesday shortly after taking off from Rand Airport, east of Johannesburg, were employees of Deloitte, the company said.
Four men and two women were killed in the accident.
Their light aircraft took off at 8.10am. About 2km into its journey to Ficksburg in the eastern Free State, the pilot called in to request an emergency landing, said airport manager Anton Kruger.
However, the aircraft broke up and burst into flames as it came down behind the Germiston Raceway, about 500m from the busy N3 highway.
The Deloitte employees were en route to visit a client, CBI, which has operations in Lesotho, along with two CBI senior employees, said a Deloitte statement later on Tuesday.
CBI is a division of Reunert, a major client of Deloitte’s.
The Deloitte staff were identified as Mahen Naidoo (43), an audit partner; Lesley Philpott (28), an audit manager; Mark Kriel (25), accountant in charge; and Gillian Brown (23), an audit trainee.
ER24 emergency services spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the ER24 control room was flooded with calls from people reporting the accident.
“There were no injuries, only fatalities,” Vermaak said. “The plane is burnt out.”
“Gillian is the daughter of audit partner Allan Brown. We express our deepest condolences to Allan and the parents, spouses, fiancés, families and friends of all who died,” said the Deloitte statement. “We have been in touch with the managing director of CBI and expressed our condolences to CBI and Reunert.”
Allen Swiegers, COO of Deloitte, said: ‘We are all in shock and devastated at this news. We are currently focusing on providing support to the families of the victims as well as their colleagues at Deloitte. They were part of a close-knit Deloitte family and will be greatly missed.”
Police spokesperson Superintendent Eugene Opperman said an inquest docket would be opened as part of the investigation.
In August, one person died and two were injured when their light aircraft crashed into a stream near a golf course opposite the airport.
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