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August 16, 2011

Two Planes Crash in South Africa While Returning from Airshow, Killing 13

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South African search-and-rescue teams on Tuesday morning located two planes on a mountain in the country’s northeast after they went missing during severe weather on Sunday.

Piaggio P.166 Albatross ZU-NJZ over South Africa

Piaggio P.166 Albatross (ZU-NJZ) over South Africa. (Photo by Blyzz, CC BY-NC 2.0)

The two Piaggio P.166S Albatross planes, carrying six and seven passengers, respectively, went missing on Sunday in the George’s Valley area between Polokwane and Tzaneen, a town located in the Mopani district of Limpopo province. The planes had both taken off from a landing strip in Tzaneen and were heading to Rand Airport in Germiston.

According to iol.za, the victims on one plane, registered ZU-MMI, were pilot Brian Gruar and passengers Marrion Anderson, Maddison and Alexandra Doak, Tess Spence, Louise Warden and Kevin Woolacott. On board the second plane, registration ZS-NJX, were pilot Peter Gildenhuys, and passengers Stuart and Peter van Oldenburg, Frans Dely, Marietjie de Witt, and Linda Pierce.

Officials believe the planes may have crashed into a mountain or collided in mid-air before crashing in the region, but rescue efforts have been hampered by severe weather conditions in the region. A search operation suspended on Monday evening resumed on Tuesday morning at first light.

Those on board the aircraft were returning from an air show in Tzaneen, and among the passengers was a coordinator of the annual Durban air show, which was held last month.

With BNO News wire reports

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