Two Australian pilots were injured in an accident while flying a Convair CV-340 on a test flight near Pretoria, South Africa on Tuesday.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) said in a statement on its website the accident occurred at about 1630 on Tuesday (South African time) and involved a Convair CV-340, ZS-BRV, that had just taken off from Pretoria Wonderboom Airport bound for Pilanesberg with 16 passengers and three flight crew members – two pilots and a flight engineer – on board.
Reports from the scene indicated smoke started coming out of one of the engines shortly after the aircraft took off. The flight crew attempted to return but the aircraft struck a building and came to rest in a field broken in three parts.
“There were a number of serious injuries with one fatal injury confirmed on the accident scene,” the SACAA said.
“In addition, three people who were on the ground were injured; one of them passed away [Wednesday] morning.”
The SACAA said it had assigned a team of investigators to “probe the cause or causes” of the accident.
Further, it said a preliminary report would be issued within 30 days of the accident.
“An appeal is also hereby made to all stakeholders concerned, to give the investigating team the space and time to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident,” the SACAA statement said.
The SACAA said the aircraft, which was painted in Martin’s Air Charter livery and operating a test flight, had a Certificate of Airworthiness that was due to expire on August 15 2018.
Those on board comprised three Dutch nationals, 14 South Africans and two Australians, the SACAA said.
The aircraft, which was built in 1954, was due to be ferried to the Aviodrome museum in Lelystad in the Netherlands. It was donated to the museum by South African travel company Rovos Rail.
Media reports said the two injured pilots were Australians Ross Kelly and Douglas Haywood. The pair was taken to a Johannesburg hospital for treatment.
Qantas confirmed both men had flown with the airline for more than 30 years, including as Airbus A380 Captains, and had a combined 37,000 hours of flying experience.
“We were deeply upset to learn that two Qantas pilots, one current and one retired, were onboard the vintage aircraft involved in an accident in South Africa on Tuesday,”. Qantas said in a statement on its website on Thursday.
“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.”
Kelly, who is now retired, was a Captain flying the Airbus A380 at Qantas. Meanwhile, Haywood is currently still working at Qantas as a Check and Training Captain on the A380.
Both are members of the Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS).