Maputo (AIM) – The chairperson of Mozambique’s National Civil Aviation Institute (IACM), Joao de Abreu, has confirmed the deaths of at least five of the six people who were on board a light aircraft which crashed on Monday morning in mountainous territory on the border with Zimbabwe.
Source: Names of dead in plane crash released – The Zimbabwean 29/03/2017
Initial reports that the plane crashed in Manica province proved incorrect, and the wreckage was in fact found inside Zimbabwe.
All four passengers died. They were the Chief Executive Officer of Cornelder-Mozambique, which operates the port of Beira, Adelino Mesquita; prominent lawyer Antonio Jorge Ucucho, who worked for the Cornelder legal department, and was a former member of the Executive of the Mozambique Bar Association (OAM); Cornelder financial director Isac Noor; and another senior Cornelder official, Banele Chibande.
Abreu, speaking at a Monday press conference, said that preliminary data indicated that one of the two crew members, pilot Luis Lopes dos Santos and co-pilot Rui Fonseca Pereira dos Santos, had survived – but according to the police in Manica, all six occupants of the plane died.
The plane was owned by the company ETA Air Charter, based in Beira, and Abreu said this company has a good safety record. Cornelder hired the plane to fly from Beira to the eastern Zimbabwean city of Mutare. It left Beira at 07.15, and should have arrived in Mutare at 08.25.
Both the plane and the two pilots were “in perfect condition”, according to Abreu. The plane had its certificate of airworthiness, valid until the end of April, and both pilots were highly experienced.
Managers of ETA Air Charter, interviewed by Mozambican Television (TVM) in Beira, said that the company’s aircraft are maintained regularly, but they declined to speculate on the causes of the accident.
The IACM has set up a technical team which has gone to the crash site, and will work with Zimbabwean counterparts to establish the causes of the crash.