Five die in SAPS PC-6 Turbo Porter crash at Rand Airport, Gauteng
Five people died when a South African Police Service (SAPS) Turbo Porter aircraft crashed after takeoff at Rand Airport in Gauteng on Tuesday, 30 August 2022. “On board were five passengers and a pilot. All five passengers have sadly lost their lives. The pilot is critically injured and has been taken to a nearby hospital for further medical care,” said SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Athlenda Mathe, in a statement. Shortly after the crash, authorities combed the scene to establish the cause of the accident.
“Warrant Officer Willem Erasmus, a SAPS airborne law enforcement officer with 29 years’ service was among the five people that sadly succumbed to their injuries on scene. As an airborne law enforcement officer (ALEO) the member was responsible for providing air support during crime prevention as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. The sole survivor of the crash, a senior pilot with 16 years of service, Captain Casper Swanepoel sustained serious injuries and is currently receiving medical care in hospital”, said Colonel Mathe.
The other four deceased were technicians who were in service to the SAPS, providing aircraft maintenance. Colonel Mathe said, “Four passengers were technicians from a company contracted to service and maintain police helicopters.”
Colonel Mathe added that the police had established a board of inquiry to investigate the cause of the accident.
Sisa Majola, spokesperson of the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), said the SACAA would not be investigating the crash as it involved a Police aircraft and the SAPS would investigate.
Police management met with the families of the two SAPS members and the representatives of the company that employed the four deceased technicians.
The SAPS Air Wing operated nine PC-6 Turbo Porters, along with 13 AS350 Squirrel, six R-44 Raven II, two MD500 and one BK 117 helicopters. Other fixed wing aircraft in its inventory include a PC-12, one King Air C90 and one Citation Sovereign.
SAPS aircraft are used in policing operations including crime prevention, vehicle tracking and pursuit, dagga plantation spraying, crowd control and monitoring, VIP transport and search and rescue operations. Some are equipped with hoists, cameras, searchlights and slings.
Most Air Wing responsibilities entail responding to crime call-outs. The Air Wing also provides air support during the monitoring of public protests and major events, including support to specialised units such as the Special Task Force, National Intervention Unit and Tactical Response Teams. More than 2 000 airborne law enforcement operations are typically carried out every year, with the majority by helicopters.
Source: South African Police Service, Defence Web