Pretoria crash pilot still critical as second victim dies

A second person died after being involved in the Pretoria plane crash that injured another 20 people. The deceased was one of three people on the ground when the plane crashed into a warehouse in Kameeldrift on Tuesday afternoon, according to the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA).

The charter plane was carrying 19 people, including two pilots and a flight engineer, and was departing for Pilanesberg from Wonderboom airport.

The crew members were from the Netherlands. Two of the passengers were Australian with the remainder from South Africa.

The Convair 340 vintage plane apparently plunged to the ground soon after takeoff, crashing into a factory near Moloto Road. One person was declared dead at the scene, SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said.

“The SACAA has assigned a team of investigators to probe the cause or causes of the accident … some details are yet to be verified. [Such] investigations can vary in complexity and may, at times, take significant time to complete.”

It is believed the pilot has been admitted to Montana Hospital with critical injuries, including fractured bones, head and chest injuries.

The aircraft, which was built in 1954, was due to be flown to Aviodrome Lelystad Aviation Theme Park. The 50-seater plane had not been used for several years, with experts believing it was in poor condition.

Aviation expert Guy Leitch, who described the plane as an antique, said: “The Convair CV340 was nearly 70 years old. It entered service immediately after World War II. It is powered by two normally very reliable Pratt and Whitney R2800 radial piston engines – but these were soon replaced by more powerful and reliable jet engines.”

He explained it had sat unused for five years. It was only restored to flight recently, undergoing its final test runs ahead of its planned transfer to the Aviodrome Aviation Theme Park in the Netherlands.

Leitch said to keep such planes in the air required skilled and experienced maintenance engineers and a supply of the key spare parts.

“The risks of operating older aircraft are that components can be worn out. However, these risks are normally well managed so they are pretty safe,” said Leitch.

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