UPDATED: Airforce Of Zimbabwe Plane Crashes In Somabula, Two Pilots Perish
An Air Force of Zimbabwe training plane crashed and killed an instructor and a female student pilot on Tuesday.
The plane developed a technical fault and crashed at around 2.30 pm at Dabuka in Somabula on the outskirts of Gweru, Midlands Province.
The two pilots, named as flight instructor Mkhululi Dube and his female trainee, Silungile Sweswe, died on impact.
According to eyewitness accounts, the plane had taken off from the Thornhill Air Base, now renamed Josiah Tungamirai Air Force Base and crashed while attempting to turn back.
A witness who requested not to be named was quoted by the Chronicle as having said:
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This is usually the training ground for pilots and we usually gather to view their flying prowess. We were surprised when the plane started jerking.
In the twinkle of an eye the plane had crashed and there was a cloud of dust. We rushed to the scene but we could not help.
A team from the Air Force of Zimbabwe arrived at the crash scene about 20 minutes after the plane had come down and dispersed villagers who had just gathered before retrieving the bodies.
ZimLive reports that two journalists from The Chronicle and the Masvingo Mirror were detained for four hours after taking pictures of the plane wreckage.
The scribes were let go without charge after being forced to delete their pictures.