The Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) has established a board of inquiry to probe circumstances surrounding a plane accident that occurred in Midlands Province recently.
An AFZ SF260 aircraft from the Josiah Tungamirai Airbase, formerly Thornhill Airbase, crashed during routine training near Gweru early this month, killing two members of the force.
Group Captain Ben Munyanduki and Wing Commander Daniel Manyenga perished in the accident after the aircraft crashed into a power line.
The Zimbabwe Independent reported sources saying the investigation seeks to ascertain what led to the accident. Said a source:
In conducting the probe, AFZ was determined to assert its guiding motto that ‘Our Wings are the Fortress of the Nation’ while minimising accidents that claim human lives and destroy critical equipment.
Usually what happens in cases like these is that a board of inquiry constituting experts in the military is assembled.
A detailed report from the scene of the accident is compiled, usually originating from the airbase involved (Josiah Tungamirai).
That report is then forwarded to the Air Force headquarters at Josiah Magama Tongogara barracks (formerly King George VI).
At that stage, the report is assessed and additional recommendations are recorded before it is submitted to the commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Valerio Sibanda.
The investigation underway will likely follow that procedure.
Another source was quoted as saying the duration of the investigation was dependent on several factors.
These include the severity of the accident and the process of gathering evidence from multiple sources.
In April 2020, an accident involving an AFZ aircraft SF260 Genet trainer claimed the lives of an instructor and trainee pilot on board.
In April 2021, four people died, including two pilots and an engineer, after an AFZ Augusta Bell 412 (AB412) crashed in Mashonaland East Province.
In June 2021, a Mig-23 gunship helicopter made an emergency landing after it had reportedly developed a technical fault. No casualties were recorded.