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Family killed in Harrismith plane crash

Four people — believed to be members of one family — were killed when their six-seater airplane crashed in Harrismith in the Free State on Monday afternoon, paramedics said.

The plane, a Beach Bonanza, crashed into the side of the Platberg Mountain in thick mist, said Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha.

”Sadly, all four passengers on board the plane died,” he said.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s Phindile Gwebu said: ”We still do not know exactly who they are, but it is believed that they are members of one family.”

Santjie White of the SA Search and Rescue Organisation (SASAR) said the aircraft, en route from Vereeniging to Margate, diverted to Harrismith due to a technical problem.

”Our aeronautical rescue coordination centre in Johannesburg was activated after the problem was reported. Contact was lost with the aircraft and shortly thereafter the wreck was spotted by an over flying aircraft when the weather cleared sufficiently,” said White.

The airplane crashed into a nearly inaccessible part of the mountain. Paramedics, who were notified about the crash at 1.30pm, had to leave their vehicles to get to the crash site.

A helicopter with rescuers was dispatched to the scene, said Gwebu.

Paramedics and police were still working at the scene by 4pm, she said. – Sapa

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