From Cletus Mushanawani in Vumba
Six people, four of them directors of Beira-headquartered Green Motor Services (GMS) who included a Zimbabwean, were killed in a plane crash in Vumba yesterday morning.
The eight-seater plane crashed in the Vumba Mountains around 8AM on the Zimbabwean side, while it was headed for Mutare where the deceased were due for a board meeting of the goods clearing firm.
Witnesses attributed the crash to bad weather, as it was misty in the area by the time of the accident.
The four GMS directors, Adelino DeJesus Mesquita (managing director), Isaac Noor (finance director), Antonio Jeorge Ucucho (legal advisor) and a Zimbabwean, Banele Sibanda (finance and accounts manager), together with crew members, Captain Rui Fonseca Tereira Dos Santos, who was being assisted by his son, Adelino De-Lopus Dos Santos, were aboard the Mozambican registered Air Transport Company plane, Islander BN-2A-300, Registration Number C9-AOV, when it went down.
Police chief national spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, referred our Harare Bureau to Air Force of Zimbabwe for a comment yesterday night.
Efforts to get a comment from the Air Force of Zimbabwe proved fruitless at the time of going to Press.
GMS Mutare Dry Port general manager, Mr Lawrence Takawira, who also attended the crash scene in Vumba, said the four were due to attend a board meeting at the Mutare-based company.
GMS runs the Mutare Dry Port, which is involved in the clearing of goods from the Port of Beira in Mozambique.
“We were waiting for the four at Mutare Aerodrome from about 8am together with officials from Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Department of Immigration,” said Mr Takawira. “When the plane delayed in arriving, we phoned our Beira office and we were told by the managing director’s secretary that the four had delayed in leaving Beira because of the bad weather.
“We were advised that they would arrive at around 9am, but up to 11am they had not arrived. Someone phoned to inform us that there was a plane crash in the Vumba Mountains.
“After verification, we discovered that it was the plane carrying our senior executives. We rushed to the scene and it was confirmed that they were the people aboard that plane. Their death is a sad loss to both Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”
When our Mutare Bureau arrived at the scene around 1pm, the wreckage of the plane and human body parts were strewn all over the place near the summit of the nearly 1 911 metres high mountain where the plane crashed.
Scores of people from both Mozambique and Zimbabwe had scaled up the mountain to catch a glimpse of the wreckage.
The six bodies were later placed in body bags thrown to the scene by an Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter, which had a torrid time airlifting the bodies.
The bodies were eventually airlifted after several attempts and were said to have been transported to Mutare Provincial Hospital for postmortem.