A South African pilot and his passenger survived yesterday morning after their light aircraft developed an engine fault and crash-landed in Dzalanyama Forest in Dedza some four minutes after entering the Malawi air space.

An eye witness, Zacharia Joshua, a farmer working in his garden who assisted the two South Africans told The Daily Times that the accident occurred at around 9 in the morning.

“I was working in the garden with my wife and our three children when we noticed that a plane was flying low in our direction but at a high speed.

“Actually it whizzed past me less than two metres and crashed, screeching some 100 metres from where we stood. There was a loud crash sound and parts of the plane flew in all directions,” said Joshua.

After the accident one white man came out and a few minutes later another white man came out and started running through the forest after which Joshua caught up with him and stopped him.

It was Joshua who later contacted Chafumbwa Police Unit before the two South Africans were taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital where they were treated as out patients and Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) officials arrived on the scene to begin the procedural process for air accidents.

The aircraft, a P68 type registration number ZS—LSX of the Cesna family, crash landed some 100 kilometres from Dedza Boma close to the border with neighboring Mozambique.

KIA Police spokesperson Peter Botha, said the pilot of the Cesna earlier alerted KIA control tower that he was experiencing problems with his plane that required that the airport prepare for emergency landing.

“As soon as the communication was made four minutes after the airplane entered Malawi from Mozambique, communication broke and about an hour later there was information that a plane had crashed in Dzalanyama Forest,” said Botha.

According to Botha, the plane was coming from Mozambique and was on its way to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania via KIA where it was supposed to refuel. Airport authorities are now investigating the cause of the accident. – By Jacob Nankhonya

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