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C-47TP Dakota 6840 "Gooney Bird", a Silver falcom team support aircraft, earlier September 2012.

SAAF Dakota missing

Date: 5 December 2012

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By Dean Wingrin

A search and rescue mission is underway for a missing South African Air Force Dakota transport aircraft.

The C-47TP aircraft of 35 Squadron was flying from AFB Waterkloof near Pretoria to Mthatha in the Eastern Cape when it encountered severe weather conditions this morning. Unconfirmed reports state that the aircraft last communicated with Air Traffic Control when above Giants Castle in the Drakensburg mountains, stating that they were at 11,000 feet and flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions due to the bad visibility. The aircraft never arrived at Mthatha Airport.

An Oryx helicopter was tasked to search for the missing aircraft, but had to abandon the search due to the very bad weather in the area.

A SANDF spokesperson confirmed that the SANDF was aware that an aircraft may be missing and that a media release would be issued as soon as further information was available.

Just under a month ago, on 7 November, another C-47TP Dakota of 35 Squadron was involved in a landing accident at Mthatha Airport, when it bounced on landing and left the runway. Damage included a torn-off main undercarriage, bent propeller and damaged engine and wing. Fortunately, none of the 16 passengers on board was injured.

It is not known how many people were on board the missing aircraft.

 


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