A South African pilot was killed at Harare’s Charles Prince Airport on Tuesday evening during an aerobatics display known as “Formation Aerobatics”.
In a statement on Tuesday, Nils Flaatten of the Marksmen Aerobatic Team named the deceased pilot as Mark Sampson. Read the statement:
It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that today, the MARKSMEN AEROBATIC TEAM can confirm that Mark Sampson, outstanding aviator, honoured team member, trusted number-4 and loyal friend, perished in a flying incident in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The MARKSMEN AEROBATIC TEAM were on the return leg of a roundabout trip from Cape Town to Nairobi, where the team had performed a successful aerobatic formation display at the Kenyan Défense Force (KDF) Museum Airshow, held in conjunction with the Aero Club of East Africa.
The MARKSMEN AEROBATIC TEAM is devastated and we are currently working with the Zimbabwean authorities.
According to eyewitnesses who spoke to ZimLive, the plane spun several times and then veered out of control when the pilot levelled up and tried to make a climb.
It then crashed nose-first in front of spectators who initially assumed it was all part of the show. Said a witness:
They were virtually at the end of their display when the tragic accident happened, killing the pilot.