DAR ES SALAAM – A light plane crashed in western Tanzania on Saturday, killing two South Africans who had been involved in last month’s successful attempt to fly a home-built aircraft from Cape Town to Cairo, officials said.
The crashed Sling plane, which entered Tanzanian airspace from Uganda en route to Malawi, made a distress signal about engine failure before disappearing from radar, according to the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA).
“The pilot and passenger, both South African citizens, were killed in the plane crash that occurred shortly after take off from Tabora airport at around 7:30 am,” Sikonge district commissioner Peres Magiri told ITV television station.
The plane was destroyed by fire after the crash and only the engine and some other parts were recovered. It was owned by a South African organisation known as U-Dream Global.
U-Dream Global said on Facebook: “Cape to Cairo Challenge is devastated to report that there has been an accident of the flight support aircraft and that the Project Directors, Des Werner and Werner Froneman, have lost their lives. No one else was involved in the accident.”
They requested understanding at this incredibly difficult time and sent their love and thoughts to Des and Werner’s family and friends.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said it has activated its consular services to support affected families.
U-Dream Global, made international headlines in June when a group of students successfully built a four-seater Sling aircraft and then flew it from Cape Town to Cairo in July.
On its website, U-Dream Global is described as a not-for-profit organisation founded by teen pilot and motivational speaker Megan Werner in 2018. Des Werner, who passed away in the crash, was reportedly Megan’s father.
(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala and Wendell Roelf in Cape Town; Editing by Duncan Miriri and Michael Perry and Jenni Baxter/SAPeople)