Thursday, March 4, 2021

Manufacture investigates crashed Police helicopter

The Minister of Defense, Justice and Security Ramadeluka Seretse said the British company that manufactured the helicopter that recently crashed in Okavango Delta killing three officers on board has volunteered to assist in the investigations to establish that could have led to the crash.

The helicopter crashed while flying between Gumare and Maun with three crews who were burnt to ashes in the crash inferno. It is not yet clear who is leading the investigations team as both the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) and Ministry of Transport and Communications confirmed that they will not be part of the investigation process.

In a brief interview, Seretse said the manufacturer of the helicopter has volunteered to assist in the investigations to establish the circumstanced that led to the crash.

Although Seretse was cagey with information, he indicated that some foreign experts will form part of the investigation team, but the majority of the investigators would be local experts. He was not in a position to state the size of the investigation team. He said he would not want to comment further as the investigations have since commenced and that might compromise the outcome.

CAAB spokesperson Modipe Nkwe said CAAB was not part of the investigation team as they only investigate commercial and private air crafts, not state owned air crafts that include Botswana Defense Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service and Department of Wildlife. Contacted for comment, Pricilla Simuala from the Ministry of Transport and Communications stated that the ministry was not part of the investigation team.

Younger sister to Superintendent Keokeditswe Sobatha who was piloting the aircraft, Gaokgakala Sobatha told Sunday Standard that, “we do have some questions that we want the police to clarify but currently our focus is on burial activities and then after that we will be in a better position to clarify whatever we are not sure of.”

She said they were flown to the crime scene to have an idea of what really happened and where the three lost their lives.

Sobatha stated that at this juncture she was not in a position to describe in her own words how the crime scene looked like and what they had found at the crime scene. All she could say was, “it was a horrific scene.” She added that they were asked by the police not to divulge any information to the media or any third party as that could compromise their investigations. The three were buried over the weekend at their respective home villages.

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