Three people confirmed dead in a plane that was earlier alerted to have lost contact after taking off from George Airport in the Southern Cape earlier on Thursday.
Emergency services have confirmed the death of three people in an aircraft crash earlier on Thursday near a mountain pass between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn in the southern Cape.
A Cessna Citation aircraft, operated by the SA Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), took off from George Airport at about 10:40am. Not long afterwards the air traffic control tower could not make contact with the aircraft, TimesLIVE reported earlier in the day.
It was initially believed to have crashed in the mountainous Ruiterbos area between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn and a search operation immediately got under way but was hampered by mist.
Western Cape Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Deanna Bessick said in a statement on Thursday evening that services had responded to a light aircraft crash near the Robinson Pass.
“The incident took place at 11:30am and sadly three patients, two males and a female, were fatally injured.
“Two service vehicles were dispatched … one rescue vehicle … and Skymed [helicopter] was dispatched …
“The wreckage was found at 2:05pm. Our sincere condolences to the family of the three deceased as circumstances about the crash are being investigated.”
The 33-year-old plane was a calibration aircraft used to enforce airport safety both in SA and at airports in neighbouring countries.
The aircraft was grounded in November 2019 after smoke billowed into the cockpit just before take-off from Lanseria airport in Johannesburg.