Nothing odd about chopper crash: owner
The Civil Aviation Authority hopes an investigation into a mysterious helicopter crash will answer the numerous questions about the incident.
The investigation into the crash of South African businessman Frikkie Lutzkie's helicopter enters its seventh day today.
According to Lutzkie, who was flying the helicopter, it crashed in the Severn area about 70km from the McCarthy Border Post near Botswana.
He was flying to a friend's farm, he said.
Lutzkie was apparently returning from a 10-day hunting trip at Askham in the Kalahari when the helicopter's engine allegedly failed.
The helicopter was discovered camouflaged with branches and smeared with mud.
"We were on a hunting trip with a Bible gathering," said Lutzkie yesterday.
"I was flying to my friend's farm, which was 150km away. He was going to take me to look at another farm that I am thinking of buying."
Lutzkie said he had reported the crash to police and the aviation authorities within eight hours.
"I want to get away from everything and closer to God and the earth. The world is sick," he said.
Lutzkie, defending himself against allegations that he is an underworld tycoon, said he had done nothing illegal.
"I am a businessman who has made my millions through hard work and calculated risks. Nothing more and certainly not through dishonest means," he said.
The Augusta A119 helicopter, valued at R50-million, was not insured.
Asked why not, Lutzkie said none of the things he owned was insured.
"I have millions of rands worth of property and vehicles and nothing is insured. It is my prerogative," he said.
"The incident happened because of an engine failure. I shut down the helicopter and tried to restart it but could not and put it down."
After the crash, he said, he cut off the blades and skid so the helicopter could be loaded onto his truck and taken away.
"I covered it up with branches so that no one would come to it, especially children, who might get hurt or possibly kill themselves by pushing buttons. There is nothing more to it," he said.
Lutzkie's explanation that he contacted the Civil Aviation Authority within hours has been disputed by authority spokesman, Phindiwe Gwebu.
"Our investigators were informed of the crash by the police three days after it happened.
"The crash happened on Thursday. We are looking into why we were notified late, which is strange.
"We have numerous questions which the investigation will answer," said Gwebu.
"We cannot comment further as the investigation is still under way."