Two pilots died on the spot when an Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) plane crashed soon after taking off at Charles Prince Airport in Harare. The plane, which was one of four planes that took off at Charles Prince Airport around 12 mid-day, crashed into a nearby compound, killing the pilot and co-pilot on the spot.
When the ZBC News arrived at the scene of the accident, AFZ senior officials were still trying to ascertain the cause of the accident with barricades being put in place while people from the compound were driven out. The ZBC News crew was denied access to film the plane wreckage and was ordered to vacate the area. People at the scene of the accident, who spoke off camera, said four planes took off at Charles Prince Airport before the SF 260 Genet aircraft crashed into the compound. Sources privy to the sad development said the aircraft is based at Thornhill Air Base in Gweru, indicating that the plane was part of the drills being done ahead of the air show slated for Sunday.
The air show attracts various partners from across the region and information obtained indicates that other regional participants are already in the country as the show was expected to attract hundreds of people. Meanwhile, in a statement, the AFZ acknowledged the air crash, saying the names of the deceased are still being withheld until their next of kin have been advised.
AFZ Commander, Air Marshal Perence Shiri said news of the accident and the death of the aircrew has been received with shock and deepest sorrow. He described the two officers as courageous.