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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 234041
Last updated: 29 November 2021
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Date:15-MAR-2020
Time:09:14 UTC
Type:The Airplane Factory Sling 4 TSi
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: ZU-IPS
MSN: 167S
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Umkomazi River Valley, Kwazulu-Natal -   South Africa
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Groutville (Ballito) Airfield
Destination airport:Groutville (Ballito) Airfield
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Narrative:
A pilot on-board a Sling 4 aircraft with registration ZU-IPS took off on a private flight in Groutville Airfield in Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal, with an intention to land back at the same airfield. The pilot was the owner of the aircraft and a well-known canoeist marathon champion. After take-off, the aircraft headed towards Richmond, an area close to Graig Side, Wycliffe and Mpofana regions, where a canoeist marathon race along the uMkhomazi River was in progress. The race, which was about 25.8 kilometres, had started at approximately 0630Z from Nyala Pans and destined to end at St Elmos.
The pilot had executed two uneventful circuits with the left-side turn pattern along the uMkhomazi River. During the third circuit, the pilot had again executed the same left-side turn pattern while flying downstream low and slow in the valley; however, this time, he crashed on a high-rising terrain (cliff).
According to the eyewitnesses, the accident aircraft was observed flying at least twice along the uMkhomazi River at a height above the mountain peak. On the third circuit while flying downstream, the aircraft was seen flying low in the valley at a height of approximately 350 feet (ft) above ground level (AGL). It seemed as though the pilot was watching the race. The eyewitnesses also stated that they thought maybe one of the pilot’s friends was in the race. Another eyewitness stated that the daughter of the pilot’s close friend was one of the race competitors. The eyewitness further stated that the “fairly new looking” blue and white aircraft was observed flying along the river in the valley at a low height. At the time, the weather was clear with little to no wind, and the visibility was good. The eyewitness stated that on the third turn to go upstream, the aircraft made a left-side turn, flying low and slow towards the high-rising terrain (cliff). Moments later, a loud bang, followed by an explosion was heard, and the aircraft was observed falling (descending). Thereafter, dense black smoke was seen coming from the bushy area at the bottom of the cliff (where the aircraft had come to rest). The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and the post-impact fire that erupted thereafter. The pilot was fatally injured during the accident sequence.

Probable Course and/or Contributory Factors
After completing two successful circuits above the mountain peak, the aircraft was flown at a low height in the valley and, during the third left turn to commence the third circuit, it crashed on a cliff.
Contributory Factor
The pilot was watching the race along the uMkhomazi River and had probably misjudged his proximity to the cliff.

Sources:

https://www.timeslive.co.za/news/south-africa/2020-03-15-pilot-dies-in-kzn-plane-crash/
https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/pilot-dies-in-kzn-plane-crash-20200315
https://avcom.co.za/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=228533 (needs log-in)

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: CAA SouthAfrica
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 11 months
Download report: Final report
Location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
15-Mar-2020 17:34 gerard57 Added
15-Mar-2020 18:46 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Source]
16-Mar-2020 17:24 RobertMB Updated [Aircraft type, Registration, Location, Source, Narrative]
16-Mar-2020 21:26 Captain Adam Updated [Narrative]
16-Mar-2020 22:13 RobertMB Updated [Narrative]
23-Feb-2021 19:48 harro Updated [Narrative]

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