Accident Robinson R44 Astro ZS-RGY, Sunday 27 December 1998
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Date:Sunday 27 December 1998
Time:09:05 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic R44 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Robinson R44 Astro
Registration: ZS-RGY
MSN: 0213
Year of manufacture:1995
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:30 km North West of Greytown -   South Africa
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Phoenix (Near Virginia), RSA
Destination airport:Muden (Near Greytown), RSA
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Confidence Rating: Information verified through data from accident investigation authorities
The pilot, accompanied by his brother in law and his two grandsons, departed Phoenix (10 nautical miles North from Durban) on the morning of 27 December 1998 for a private VFR (Visual Rules) flight to Muden where they would have visited family. Muden is situated approximately 55 nautical miles North West from Durban and 12 nautical miles North West from Greytown.

The surface synoptic chart indicated that there was an onshore flow of moist maritime air from a weak high pressure cell to an interior low over the eastern Free State. This resulted in cloudy to overcast low cloud conditions over Kwa-Zulu Natal with associated rain and mist.

At approximately 08:30 Z the pilot contacted his family while in the vicinity of Merthley Lake, which is located 2 nautical miles Norh West from Greytown, and stated that he was experiencing bad weather with mist in the region. He then stated that he would try and fly to Muden via Keats Drift, which is a low lying area located 12 nautical miles North West from Greytown.

At approximately 08:45 Z, a farm labourer was working on a farm in the Regina region (8 nautical miles North East from Greytown) when he heard the sound of a helicopter. He heard the engine noise increase and saw the helicopter appearing out of the cloud (low mist) above a hill-side flying in a Northerly direction.

According to the eye-witness, the helicopter was banked slightly to the right and was flying straight along the hill when it suddenly banked sharply to the right and flew back along the low lying valley in a Southerly direction. The helicopter was flying with its nose pitched down with a high engine note. It then impacted into the side of the mountain.

He ran towards the wreckage and noticed that three of the occupants had apparently been fatally injured with one child in a critical condition. The child died a short while later

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: CAA S.A.
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report



Revision history:

23-Dec-2011 17:32 Dr. John Smith Added
23-Dec-2011 19:11 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Aug-2016 18:33 Dr.John Smith Updated [Source, Narrative]

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