At 21h20, Saturday, 25 June, NSRI EOC (Emergency Operations Centre) were alerted by ARCC of a light aircraft overdue at a Gqeberha airfield during a flight from Gqeberha to Kenton-On-Sea and missing during the return leg from Kenton-On-Sea to Gqeberha.
Ian Gray, NSRI Gqeberha duty controller, said:
The SA Police Services and Police K9 Search and Rescue had also been alerted.
Port Elizabeth ATC (Air Traffic Control), ATNS (Air Traffic Navigation Services), SA Police Services and NSRI duty controllers assisted ARCC in initial investigations.
NSRI duty crew were activated at 22h19 to assist ARCC in a search operation along the coastline in the vicinity of Colchester (between Gqeberha and Kenton-On-Sea).
The SA Police Services, Police K9 Search and Rescue, EC Government Health EMS, Port Alfred volunteer medics, a Police Dive Unit, SA National Parks rangers and Cape Town SASAR (SA Search and Rescue) were activated.
In a search and rescue operation coordinated by ARCC, and with Police on-scene command, NSRI dispatched our NSRI rescue vehicle, and NSRI crew using their private vehicles, and searched areas along the coastline and inland of the coastline while NSRI duty controllers assisted ARCC, PE ATC and ATNS to narrow down a search area based on the last radar contact and flight plan of the aircraft.
Police, Police K9 Search and Rescue, Police divers, NSRI Gqeberha, Eastern Cape EMS, volunteer medics from Port Alfred, SA National Parks rangers, and The Mountain Club of South Africa, involved in the search operation, searched through the night.
During the early hours of the morning the search area was narrowed down to be about 10 kilometers North East of Gqeberha.
During the morning on Sunday, 26 June, an SA Air Force, 15 Squadron Charlie Flight, BK117 helicopter, accompanied by Police and EC EMS, located the aircraft accident sight.
Sadly both men onboard, located at the aircraft, were declared deceased by paramedics.
The bodies of the deceased have been taken into the care of Government Health Forensic Pathology Services.
Police have opened an inquest docket and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) have launched an investigation.
Condolences are conveyed to family of the deceased men.
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