/ 10 February 2011

Aviation authority investigating Plett plane crash

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has sent investigators to look into the cause of an aircraft accident near Plettenberg Bay on Tuesday in which nine people died.

The CAA said in a statement on Wednesday that the aircraft, a Pilatus PC12 with two crew members and seven passengers on board, took off from Queenstown Aerodrome at 3pm on Tuesday and was to have landed at Plettenberg Bay Aerodrome just after 4pm.

“Information at this stage indicates that, shortly after being handed over to the Cape Town Radar Control, and at approximately five kilometres away from Plettenberg Bay Aerodrome, the aircraft went off radar,” the CAA said.

A search and rescue operation was launched soon after it became known that the aircraft had not reached its destination.

One of those killed in the accident was Italtile CEO Gianpaolo Ravazzotti.

Also killed were pilot Bronwyn Parsons, co-pilot Alison van Staden and passengers Gia Celori of Italtile, Marilize Compion of Italtile, Sava Di Bella of Prima Bella Bathroom Accessories, Simon Hirschberg of Grainwave, Jody Jansen van Rensburg of CTM Alberton and Aletsia Krause of Italtile.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) said police divers had recovered some bodies.

“But Forensic Pathology Services and the South African Police Service will not confirm the number of bodies recovered as this has not been conclusively determined,” the NSRI said in a statement.

Incorrect reports
Earlier reports that eight bodies had been retrieved by Wednesday afternoon were incorrect, it said.

Debris from the aircraft spanned five nautical miles out to sea and along the shore.

The highest concentration of debris was about half a nautical mile in the vicinity off-shore of the Robberg Nature Reserve, near Plettenberg Bay.

The NSRI in Plettenberg Bay and NSRI Knysna deployed three sea rescue craft for the search.

Search aircraft could not be deployed because of dense fog on Wednesday morning. — Sapa