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Update on Chivhu plane crash: It was carrying diamonds

The light plane which reportedly crashed in Chivhu on Monday was carrying diamonds owned by mining giant, Murowa (Private) Limited.

Initial reports suggested that two people had survived the crash.

Latest reports suggest that the Piper 31 Navajo aircraft which crashed on a field about 16km from Beatrice on Monday afternoon, had five people on board and they all survived with injuries.

Police yesterday said no one was killed in the crash, but five people on-board were injured and taken to hospital for treatment, The Herald reported.

They were identified as:

1). the pilot Zvikomborero Nyamakura of Borrowdale,

2). Murowa Diamonds’ security officer Salfina Karimazondo,

3). Constable Obey Mabvundwi of CID Minerals Flora and Fauna Unit 

4). Petros Chaguruka, a security guard from Fawcett Security Company, and

5). Fredrick Maroyi, a security guard from Fawcett Security Company

Police said the diamonds, which were being moved from Murowa’s mine in Zvishavane were secured before they were taken to Murowa Diamonds offices in Harare by security guards from Fawcetts. Said national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi:

We are now working together with officials from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to ascertain the cause of the accident. More details will be released in due course.

Tafadzwa Gova, the group corporate affairs executive for Murowa’s parent company, RioZim Limited, issued a statement on the plane crash saying investigations into the cause of the crash are continuing. Gova said:

A Piper 31 Navajo aircraft owned by RZM Murowa (Private Limited) force-landed in a farm field approximately 16 kilometres from Beatrice on the 13th of February 2023.

The cause is yet to be ascertained. There were no casualties on board or on the ground. Damage was limited to the aircraft.

There will be a full investigation by the company in conjunction with CAAZ, the regulator.

There are preliminary indications that the plane could have developed an engine fault.

Witnesses on the ground said the incident occurred at Muriwai Farm around 2.30 pm and the five were pulled out of the wreckage by locals with the help of the farm owner who rushed them to the hospital.

The pilot sustained serious head injuries and is said to be in critical condition, while the other four are in stable condition.

Mr Ishmael Gwaze, who saw the unfolding drama, said he saw the low-flying aircraft which appeared to be preparing to land but was producing a weird sound.

He said the plane’s engines appeared to be stalling and restarting intermittently and it eventually landed on a fire guard. Gwaze said:

The plane then sped along the fireguard and the front landing gear snapped and it overturned.

A person who was nearest to the wreckage rushed to the scene and used a spanner to break the windows.

More people then arrived to help in pulling out the people from the plane.

It is understood that just before the plane came down, the pilot, Nyamakura informed the other people on board that the aeroplane had developed a mechanical fault on its left engine and that he wanted to land safely.

Nyamakura is reported to have decided to land on the farm and appeared to have done well until the landing gear gave in, sending the plane spinning on the ground.

The farm owner identified as Mr Gerald Douglas Davison (68) rushed to the scene and took the five to Beatrice Hospital for treatment from where they were later transferred to a medical facility in Harare. – (Pindula)

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