Breaking News : Helicopter Crashes in Ballito

Crashed Helicopter15th December 2010 | A helicopter, which is part of a national security enforcement drive, crashed just outside Leguna Seca Industrial Park in Ballito. The details related to the crash are still emerging and service staff on scene have been instructed not to discuss details with the media and capturing of photo’s by the media is “highly discouraged”.

In a brief discussion with one of the staff assessing damage, it seems as if there was a technical failure with the helicopter that resulted in an emergency landing. The drop, distance wise is not known, but its was high enough to injure the pilots involved, who have already been taken care of by emergency services.

Andre van Wyk, General Manager at the Caledon Hotel in Umhlali which is closely situated to the crash site, says his staff spotted the helicopter flying really low before crashing. “Garden staff actually saw the helicopter flying just over the hotel, circling about in the sky and it was obvious that he was looking for a place to land. And he just went closer to the ground and they heard metal scratching.”

As details become more known we will post them.

UPDATE : The fleet of 27 Agusta helicopters of the South African Air Force has been temporarily grounded after a new aircraft made an emergency landing at Ballito.

The helicopters have been temporarily withdrawn as it is suspected the accident was caused by a problem with the tail rotor. Experts said the fact that the chopper, stationed at 15 Squadron in Durban, spun wildly indicated such a problem, and that the competence of the pilot probably averted a worse accident.

This is the second incident in three weeks in which one of these helicopters, bought as part of the controversial arms deal, has been damaged. In the previous incident at Potchefstroom, the pilot landed hard, damaging the chassis

Yesterday’s accident happened at about 11.30 am while the defence force was helping police with a holiday crime-fighting project A Business Against Crime member, the pilot and co-pilot were injured. Also on board was Lieutenant-Colonel J.J. Geldenhuys of 15 Squadron. He was not injured. Eyewitness Johan Prinsloo said the helicopter circled twice before the engine stopped at tree height, with the helicopter spinning and falling in the veld. Prinsloo, who works for a windscreen company at the Laguna Seca industrial park, was standing outside when the accident happened. The Agusta helicopters were scheduled to form part of a military parade honouring past and present defence force members, to be reviewed by President Jacob Zuma.

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