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Mnangagwa mourns AFZ officers, child killed in chopper crash

by Staff reporter
24 Apr 2021 at 06:17hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has send condolence messages to the families of two Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) pilots, a technician, and a child who died after a helicopter crashed in Chinyika, Goromonzi Friday.

Among the deceased is 18-month-old toddler Jade Fenyere, who was sleeping with her twin sister, Jada, when the chopper plunged into their house.

Jada escaped with burns together with the mother who later tried to rescue them.

The mother and Jada were taken to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and later transferred to Trauma Centre in Borrowdale for treatment, and were reportedly in a stable condition Friday night.

There were three crew members onboard, two pilots and a technician and in a statement Friday evening, the AFZ Commander, Air Marshal Elson Moyo said the names of the military officers would be released after their next of kin have been informed.

In his message, Mnangagwa said he had learnt with great sorrow and grief the fatal air crash involving one of the AFZ helicopters, which was on routine training in the Goromonzi area.

"Whilst investigations are still underway, it has come to my attention that all three members of the crew perished in the crash," he said.

"Even more heart-wrenching is the information that the helicopter crashed on a house claiming one other life and injuring a mother and a child.

"As we await details concerning this tragic incident, may I, on behalf of the party Zanu-PF, government, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, and on my behalf, express my deepest condolences to relatives of the airmen and the child who perished in this rare incident."

In his statement, Air Marshal Moyo said a dark cloud had engulfed the AFZ.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives after the unfortunate accident. Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and those injured after the accident," he said.

The AFZ will convene a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the accident.

According to media reports, the father to the deceased girl, Joseph Fenyere who owns Plot 2, said he was not at home when the mishap occurred.

"I was informed that a helicopter had crashed onto our house after deflecting from a tree branch at a hilly platform a few metres away and burst into flames.

"When the house caught fire, my three children; twin girls, Jade and Jada were asleep inside, while their four-year-old sibling, Dean, was seated in the doorway," said Fenyere.

Upon hearing the bang, the mother and other people at the scene took flight but she later tried to retrieve her children from the burning house.

By then, Jade had already died while Dean was out of danger.

Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri and Air Marshal Moyo are expected to visit the Fenyere family in Goromonzi this Saturday to convey their condolences.

Source - Agencies
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