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Rescuers couldn’t save Impalila plane crash victims despite calls for help

Staff Writer

Several rescuers that responded to an airplane accident which claimed five occupants on board could not save them even as cries for help could be heard from the wreckage when they arrived on the scene.

The accident occurred in the afternoon hours of the 30th of August this year when four German nationals including a South African pilot crushed on the Impalila island at the Muwa Village en-route to Rundu for refueling.

It was meant to proceed to Windhoek.

The deceased were identified as Nicole Mienie (21), with passengers Thomas Rings (59), Evelyn Cornelia Rings (57), Alicia Maria Rings (19), and Paulina Lucia Rings (17).

The works ministry’s Directorate of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations has now issued a preliminary report into what occurred on that fateful day, although a comprehensive report is yet to be published.

The report records that a driver who saw the crash failed to rescue the victims due to leaking fuel and vegetation even as two voices could still be heard calling for help

“The driver and a lady that was with him rushed to the scene, they also called the navy, the clinic and the police of the island to assist. They found another eye-witness, who also saw the crash, running to the scene.”

“On arrival two voices calling for help could still be heard. The driver was trying to get into the plane, but it proved to be very difficult as leaking fuel and vegetation was everywhere. Sadly, all on board were fatally injured,” reads the report.

The experts have, however, concluded that the accident was not survivable.

The repot has highlighted that the flight take-off was without any incident, however, the horror-crash played out only after the pilot could not acknowledge an instruction to broadcast on the unmanned frequency 124, 8 MHz.

Several calls were made from Kasane to the pilot who never gave feedback.

The preliminary report could not establish why the pilot, who had been in constant touch with Kasane air-traffic control suddenly could not provide feedback.

A vivid description of the accident shows that the pilot, mid-air,  inclined sharply and veered off to the left before rolling further.

Eye witness accounts have also shown that the left wing of the plane pointed 90 degrees downwards and struck a tree next to the river before the fatal crash.

“First followed the nose section of the aircraft. The impact caused the engine and propeller to break from the fuselage. The aircraft came to a stop in an upright position facign south, with the tail section protruding out of the water,” reads the report.

The 21-year-old pilot, Mienie, was a holder of a valid South African Commercial Pilot License with a Namibian Validation Certificate issued as per the Namibian Civil Aviation Regulations 2001.

The aircraft has been positively identified as a Cesna 210N, a six-seater high performance aircraft and that it was equipped with standard communication tools as approved for the type by the NCAA.

The communication system was also serviceable prior to the accident and was in communication with Kasane ATC on 127.2 MHz.


Staff Writer

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