Crash Victims Identified

A mother and her young son were amongst the five people killed in the Namibia Defence Force helicopter crash at Grootfontein last Friday.

Apart from Toini Nekulilo Martin, who was a Nampol employee and her son Hendrik Amalwa, Wilka Ndanyengwa Sheya, Mcvince Mwiya and Flight Lieutenant Eve Naufiku Nghimwenavali also died in what has been referred to as tragedy by the Minister of Defence Nahas Angula.

Four of the 10 people on board died at the crash site, while one boy, who was admitted at Katutura State Hospital, succumbed to injuries later on Monday.

Four survivors, Elifas Angala, Johanna Hailula, Werner Nashilundo and Nabot Kamati, who were rushed to Katutura State Hospital and Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek from the site on the same day, are reportedly in serious conditions and in intensive care units.

Defence permanent secretary Petrus Shivute yesterday said the Ministry of Defence and the Namibian Defence Force extend their deepest sympathy and condolences to the relatives of the deceased and confirmed a proactive effort to work with the bereaved families. He also requested the public to respect the families’ privacy during the time of bereavement, adding that the investigation of the cause is underway.

“The Ministry of Defence is further requesting the public to be patient whilst awaiting the conclusion of the investigation,” Shivute said.

Meanwhile, one of the grieving family members, Matthew Elago Kapofi, described his deceased cousin Nghimwenavali as a person full of life humble and vibrant. Nghimwenavali (27) was born at Oshindobe, Ongenga on 4 July 1986. She is survived by both parents and five siblings.

She completed her secondary school at Centaurus High School in Windhoek and went to study in East London, South Africa, where she trained as a pilot of AV8 Helicopters. She completed her course in 2011 and obtained her flying license thereafter.

The young pilot had risen through the ranks to a Lieutenant at the time of her death in Friday’s accident.

A memorial service was held for all deceased crash victims yesterday at Grootfontein Army Headquarters Church Hall. Apart form the memorial service at the army headquarters, another one for Nghimwenavali was also held yesterday at the Inner City Lutheran Church in Windhoek.

Funeral arrangements are yet to be announced.

The helicopter crashed just after take-off for Windhoek to pick up Angula who was scheduled to officiate at an NDF technicians’ graduation ceremony at Grootfontein.

This is the second accident involving a Namibian Defence Force aircraft and the third plane crash in Namibia within four months, following the one that killed One Africa Television founder Paul van Schalkwyk in early March near Etosha. In November last year, an NDF plane was damaged after performing an emergency landing near the Mozambique plane crash site in Bwabwata National Park.

Source : The Namibian