A 57-year-old man from Cape Town lost his life this afternoon when the light aircraft he was flying in apparently encountered technical difficulties and crashed on a farm just off the Draaifontein Road in Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth,
Police spokesman, Warrant Officer Alwyn Labans, said the man, who cannot be identified as his family in Cape Town have not yet been informed, had apparently flown the Beechcraft Baron twin engine craft down to Port Elizabeth to be serviced.
“The pilot took off from Port Elizabeth airport at 2.15pm this afternoon and dropped from radar at 2.30pm,” said Labans.
Labans said it appeared that the plane had encountered technical difficulties and that the pilot was trying to make it to the nearby Progress airstrip, but was unable to reach it.
Labans said according to eye witnesses who saw the plane crash, it appeared the plane was heading in the direction of the airstrip but then made a U Turn and appeared to be coming in to make an emergency landing on the JJ Rankin farm just off Draaifontein Road.
“The plane then apparently nosedived and crashed,” said Labans.
He said it appeared that the pilot was killed on impact.
Police and emergency personnel were hard at work combing the scene of the accident this afternoon, identifying wreckage that lay scattered across an area of about one square kilometre.
Labans said the Civil Aviation Authority had been notified and their forensic investigators were flying in to come and investigate the scene.
“We will secure the site until they are able to conduct their own investigations,” he said.