Zuma sends condolences to plane victims' families

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has extended deep-felt condolences to the families of the passengers of the two aircraft that crashed around Tzaneen.

Thirteen people, including two children, have been confirmed dead after two light aircraft crashed into the Lekgalameetse mountains in Limpopo.

"We were moved by the pain of the families as they waited anxiously for news of the missing aircraft. [Tuesday's] announcement that the wreckage of the aircraft had been sighted has confirmed everyone's worst fears. We extend our deepest condolences on behalf of all South Africans. The families are in our thoughts during this difficult time,'' Zuma said in a statement on Wednesday.

The wreckage of the two planes was spotted in the Lekgalameetse mountains on Monday morning by a search and rescue helicopter about 40km from the Limpopo town of Tzaneen.

Late yesterday, police and Civil Aviation Authority investigators were still busy removing the bodies and collecting evidence at the first crash site, about 150m below the wreck of the second plane, which crashed at an altitude of about 1570m above sea level.

The President acknowledged all the personnel involved in the rescue efforts. Despite the trying weather conditions, members of the Mountain Club of South Africa Search and Rescue as well as the SAPS tried their utmost to find the missing aircraft.

"We look forward to the results of the Civil Aviation Authority investigation into the occurrence of the tragic crash," he said.

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