Eleven killed in plane crash: SANDF

06 December 2012 - 15:46 By Sapa

Eleven people, including six SA Air Force members, died when a military aircraft crashed in the Drakensberg near Ladysmith on Thursday, the SA National Defence Force said.

"On board the aircraft was a crew of six and five passengers, and it was confirmed that there are no survivors," spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said.

"The SANDF has commenced with the process of informing the next-of-kin of the deceased members. The names of the deceased will be released when all the next-of-kin have been informed."

Dlamini said a board of inquiry had been convened to investigate the circumstances surrounding the cause of the accident.

The Dakota aircraft went missing en route to Mthatha after it took off from Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria on Wednesday. It was expected to land in Mthatha at 10am.

After no communication from the aircraft, the SAAF activated a search and rescue mission but severe weather conditions in the area hindered the operation.

"At first light this morning, the rescue team continued their efforts and located the wreckage in the Drakensberg mountains," said Dlamini.

"The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, and the Chief of the Air Force Lt-Gen Zimpande Msimang would like to convey their sincere and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased."

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