Helicopter crash investigations under way

Fire Brigade and police officers attend the scene of the crash

Fire Brigade and police officers attend the scene of the crash

Marvelous Moyo and Thupeyo Muleya Chronicle Correspondents
THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the horrific helicopter crash that happened in a mountainous area about 6km out of Gwanda Town. The owner of the Robinson R44 chopper, prominent South Africa-based Beitbridge tycoon Christian Malila Ndou, was killed in the horrific crash.

Yesterday a team made up of CAAZ officers, police and Air Force of Zimbabwe engineers visited the accident scene in Maphani area to carry out investigations.

The team took almost the whole day on the ground to ascertain what could have led to the crash of the helicopter.
Ndou, 55, of Tshamnanga Village under Chief Sitaudze in Beitbridge District, was alone in the helicopter when it went down on his way from Bulawayo to the border town.

A helicopter carrying some of the investigating team members landed on the scene around 8AM and was spotted taking off from Gwanda around 4.30PM.

The news crew was barred from getting to the crash scene as the area was cordoned off by the police officers who said the place was protected until investigations were completed.

Some members of the public who also wished to get a glimpse of the scene were also turned away.
Family spokesman Aaron Ndou Malila, younger brother to the late business mogul said in a telephone interview from Johannesburg in South Africa that they were not giving any statement.

“We are still mourning and have no intentions of publishing anything about my brother’s death. We will bury him just like any other family,” he said.

It is believed that the wealthy man could have jumped off the aircraft to his death after failing to make an emergency landing following what is suspected to have been a mechanical fault.  Villagers who witnessed the accident also said the disaster might have been caused by poor visibility as it was misty.

His scattered body parts were found metres away from the helicopter wreckage.
Ndou had a thriving farm near Luis Trichardt in South Africa where he was involved in cattle rearing and chickens production.
Comment could not be obtained from the CAAZ management who were said to be locked in meetings the whole day. Police refused to comment on the issue.

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