Terrifying video of Aussies’ South Africa plane crash
TERRIFYING mobile phone footage has emerged from inside a doomed vintage plane that crashed in South Africa last week, killing two people and leaving two Australian pilots critically injured.
The three-minute iPhone video, obtained by news.com.au, was filmed by a passenger sitting by the left wing as the plane's engine begins to sputter and shoot flames.
"It's getting worse," the passenger says. "It's getting bad. This is getting very bad."
He and a female companion begin speaking in Afrikaans.
"Why are we shaking like this?" she asks.
"They've got to cut the engine so we can reach the runway," he replies.
Another passenger can be heard saying in English, "Make sure you're strapped in. Strap in."
As the plane skims just metres above trees and buildings, the man filming says in Afrikaans, "Geez, this is going to be bad."
The video then goes black as the iPhone captures the deafening sound of impact. There is silence for several moments before passengers begin moaning in pain. The man tells them not to panic and stay calm. "Hold your heads," he says. "We'll have to move forward to go and help."
Someone yells in English, "Everybody out! Everybody out! Everybody out!"
Commenting on the video, Strategic Aviation Solutions chairman Neil Hansford described it as "excellent flying from two well drilled, high-hour captains". "They probably should not have trusted the restorers and done more ground runs," he said.
Qantas pilots Douglas Haywood and Ross Kelly were among 19 people, including three Dutch and 14 South Africans, aboard the Convair CV-340, which left Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria for a scenic flight last Tuesday.
Earlier eyewitness footage showed smoke streaming from the side of the plane as it left the runway. The plane experienced engine failure shortly after takeoff and crashed into a dairy factory a few kilometres east of the airport, injuring three workers.
South African flight engineer Chris Barnard, described as an experienced engineer and pilot who had been "intimately involved" with the Convairs for 17 years, died at the scene. One of the victims on the ground later died in hospital.
Mr Kelly's wife Lyndal was also aboard the flight and was in a stable condition last week, Australian Associated Press reported. Local media reported another of the victims on the ground, 20-year-old farm worker Thabang Moloto, lost both his legs in the accident.
Tour operator Rovos Rail, which owned the 64-year-old aircraft, said in a Facebook post on Monday that the two Australians were at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg "in induced comas, but stable". "The prognosis is optimistic," the company said.
Rovos Rail had donated the aircraft to Aviodrome, an aviation museum and theme park in The Netherlands. It was due to be flown out on a multi-stop trip the next day.
"Rovos Rail is supporting Aviodrome and the South African Civil Aviation Authority with the subsequent investigation," the company said.
The SACAA said the aircraft had a certificate of airworthiness due to expire on August 15, 2018.
"The SACAA wishes to point out the investigations can vary in complexity and may at times take a significant time to complete," it said in a statement.
"A preliminary report will be issued within 30 days of the accident."
Aviodrome's three technicians on board the flight were discharged from hospital last week with minor injuries. In a Facebook post on Monday, the company said they had returned home safely over the weekend. "We will give them all time to process the tragic accident they have experienced," it said.
According to the Aviodrome website, it cost $410,000 (350,000 euros) to make the plane "flight ready" and buy parts for the planned trip to Europe.
The two pilots flew a sister Convair CV-340 to Australia in August 2016 after Rovos Rail donated that aircraft to the Historical Aviation Restoration Society based in Albion Park, south of Sydney.
Mr Hayward is a former RAAF pilot and has worked for Qantas since 1984, where he trains new pilots on the Airbus A380. Mr Kelly has been a Qantas pilot for more than 30 years and recently retired as an Airbus A380 captain.
They have a combined 37,000 hours flying experience and are avid members of Australia's Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.
"We were deeply upset to learn that two Qantas pilots, one current and one retired, were on-board the vintage aircraft involved in an accident in South Africa on Tuesday," Qantas said in a statement last week.
"They are currently in hospital being treated for serious injuries. This news has shocked the Qantas pilot community and everyone's thoughts are with the families. We've reached out and are providing whatever support we can."