South Africa military plane crashes in mountains

A+
A
A-

JOHANNESBURG — A South African military aircraft on an unknown mission to an area near the village where former President Nelson Mandela lives crashed in a mountain range, officials said Thursday. It was unclear whether there were any survivors.

The Douglas DC-3 Dakota, a twin-propeller aircraft, had taken off from Pretoria’s Waterkloof Air Force Base on Wednesday night, said Brig. Gen. Xolani Mabanga, a military spokesman. On Thursday morning, soldiers found the wreckage of the airplane in the Drakensberg mountains near Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal province, some 340 kilometers (210 miles) southeast of the air base, Mabanga said.

Mabanga said soldiers had been sent to the scene to look for survivors. Mabanga said he did not know what the mission of the aircraft was, though it had planned to land in Mthatha in the country’s Eastern Cape. Siphiwe Dlamini, a Defense Ministry spokesman, declined to immediately comment Thursday morning.

Mthatha is about 30 kilometers (17 miles) north of Qunu, the village where Mandela now lives after retiring from public life. South Africa’s military remains largely responsible for the former president’s medical care. However, military officials declined to say whether those on board had any part in caring for Mandela.

In November, another South African military flight crash landed at Mthatha, sending several people to the hospital with injuries. However, at that time, the military denied that those on board had anything to do with Mandela’s care.

Mandela, 94, was imprisoned for nearly three decades for his fight against apartheid before becoming the nation’s president in the country’s first fully democratic vote in 1994.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94