PLANE CRASH: Rescue turns to Tragedy
Patient Gabriel le Roux (80 years old) was flown out by E-med Rescue 24 early on Sunday morning from Oranjemund, Namibia to Cape Town after a head injury. Also on board were his daughter, a paramedic and two pilots. According to Acsa (Airports Company of South Africa) all flights were put in a holding pattern due to a technical “glitch” in the radar system. The Cessna 441 Conquest V5-NRS disappeared from the radar for about an hour before crashing in the Plattekloof area, killing all 5 passengers on sight. Opposed to public rumours and opinions, the radar “glitch” was not responsible for the plane crash, as by the relative authorities.
Other SA Plane Crashes
Once again this incident brings back sad memories of the death of Hansie Cronje, former SA cricket captain where the plane he was in crashed in the Outoniqua mountains near George. An alarming number of news headlines on plane accidents other than the recent one in Cape town caught the eye, all of which over only the past 12 month period:
Two men injured in Eastern Cape aircraft crash – Saturday 13 September 2014
Two planes crash in Mpumalanga – Monday 15 September 2014
Two killed in KZN light aircraft crash – 16 September 2014
Two injured in light aircraft crash – Saturday 6 December 2014
Two dead in Krugersdorp plane crash – Monday 8 December 2014
Siblings killed in Limpopo aircraft crash – Thursday 8 January 2015
Plane crash in Potchefstroom kills two – Thursday 12 March 2015
From Wright to Wrong, or Not?
The Evolution of aviation, since the first flying experiments of the Wright brothers at Huffman Prairie and Kitty Hawk in 1903 and their development of the Wright Flyer III in 1905 as first practical aircraft, can be described as none less than spectacular. With the debut of computerized technology, the aircraft industry was taken to heights unimaginable to even the most adventurous of past visionaries. Since the beginning of time man envied bird and dreamt of flying.
Way back in 1490, artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci already developed the plan for an ornithopter. It was a funny man-carrying contraption with flapping wings. Other pioneers such as Sir George Cayley, William Samuel Henson, Jules-François Dupuis-Delcourt, Louis Charles Letur and many more, would follow on their own quest for a flying machine. The world as were known by those pioneers became so much smaller and attainable to us due to all their tireless efforts.
Flying Under the RADAR
Even in these developed times, things can sadly go wrong for numerous reasons such as human errors, technical failures, bad weather and others sometimes unexplainable. On Sunday morning, flights from all over South Africa were put on hold and delayed due to a technical “glitch” in the radar system. Apparently, something like that doesn’t only happen in our country. Earlier this year on 23 June, New Zeeland had a similar “glitch”, delaying flights all over the country for 2 hours. Even in the USA in 2006, a telephone company simply switched the radar off during maintenance at their busiest airport, O’Hare in Chicago, delaying flights for up to three and a half hours. If the radar of an entire country be down for 2 hours, how much did we really evolve then?