Two pilots, a paramedic, a patient and his daughter all died in a plane crash Sunday, at the same time that the Cape Town International Airport experienced a “technical glitch”.
However, authorities have denied any link between the glitch and the crash.
The five people killed in the ambulance crash in the Western Cape on Sunday were identified by South African private ambulance service ER24 in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
The plane carried a Namibian crew and South African patient and his daughter. They were pilot Steven Naude, 53, co-pilot Amore Espag, 23, and paramedic Alfred John Ward. The South African patient was named as 80-year-old Gabriel le Roux, who died alongside his daughter Charmaine Koortzen, 49, a South African who lives in Oranjemund in Namibia.
“E-med Rescue 24 was in the process of evacuating an 80-year-old male on behalf of ER24 in South Africa from Oranjemund in Namibia. Our aircraft departed Oranjemund Airport shortly after 04:00 this morning and was expected to land at the Cape Town International Airport in South Africa at 07:00,” the statement read.
“It is understood from the Airports Company of South Africa (Acsa) that all aircraft approaching Cape Town International Airport at the time were placed in a holding pattern due to a technical fault with their radars. The E-med Rescue 24 aircraft was also in the holding pattern at the time. We lost contact with the aircraft approximately seven miles outside of the airport.”
“Although there is a lot of speculation regarding the exact cause of the crash, we are aware that the South African Civil Aviation Authority are on scene and will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.”
News24 earlier reported that a “technical glitch” with flight systems at Cape Town International Airport caused flight delays for most of Sunday morning.
The “glitch” is understood to relate flight slot coordination, which allocates an order for incoming and departing air traffic.
Percy Morokane, the Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company (ATNS) spokesperson, said the technical failure “could have been experienced anywhere in the world”.
Morokane emphasised that the air crash involving an aero-medical fixed-wing aircraft from Namibia bound for Cape Town could not be linked to the system failure.
“These two incidents are being treated separately and each will have independent investigations to establish the cause of each.”
“The South African Department of Transport’s Aircraft Accident Investigations Unit is investigating this incident. As ATNS we are required to provide a report of what transpired, and that includes communication between the pilot and our ATC [air traffic control] on duty and any other related information to such an authority,” Morokane added.