Darkness Blamed for NDF Helicopter Crash

Defence Minister Nahas Angula says poor visibility caused the crash of a military helicopter in April. Nine people, of whom five died, were on board the NDF’s Z-9 helicopter when it fatally hit the ground.

Angula told New Era yesterday that investigations were completed and poor visibility was discovered to be the cause of the accident.

“They were flying in the dark and there was no light. The airport lights were not working properly so they could not judge whether they were going up or down,” Angula said.

The Director of Aircraft and Accident Investigations in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ericsson Nengola, said his directorate was not involved in the investigations and therefore could not comment on the matter.

“It was a military helicopter. The investigations were conducted by the military and their counterparts,” said Nengola.

The helicopter hit the ground and burst into flames soon after take-off at the Grootfontein base at 05:05 on 11 April. The NDF helicopter was to pick up Angula in Windhoek to Grootfontein, where he was to be the guest of honour at the graduation ceremony for air force students.

Toini Nekulilo Martin, Hendrik Amalwa, Wilka Ndanyengwa Sheya, Mcvince Mwiya and Eve Naufiku Nghimwenavali lost their lives in the accident.

Unofficial reports at the time suggested that the crash could have been a result of overloading or engine failure. In March, Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina announced in the National Assembly that 28 aircraft accidents were recorded in the country during the 201314 financial year.

Source : New Era