Airforce helicopter crashes in Mhondoro

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By Staff Reporter

AN Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) helicopter went down in Mhondoro Sunday.

The crash occurred near Chibhero Agricultural College.

Sources however said they saw senior police and Air Force officials attending the crash site.

They also cordoned off the site, making it inaccessible.

The sources said the crash took place in the area where a helicopter carrying President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to crash land after developing a technical fault while he was returning to the capital from his Precabe Farm in Kwekwe.

“The crash was in the same area where Mnangagwa’s helicopter almost crashed,” the source said.

“The road leading to the accident scene was cordoned off, and no one was allowed there. We are not yet aware who was involved in the accident, and if there were any casualties.”

Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore said he could not comment on the matter.

“I am not in the air force, I am in the army,” he curtly said yesterday.

AFZ public relations officer, Simon Matingwina yesterday acknowledged the crash but said it was not an air force helicopter.

“I know about the crash, but it’s not our helicopter. I think Mhondoro police attended the scene,” he said last night.

Efforts to get a comment from police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi were fruitless as he was not picking up calls.

This is not the first time that an air force chopper has crashed in the country.

Last April, an AFZ helicopter — Agusta Bell AB 412 — crashed in a farming area in Arcturus, 30km east of the capital killing three crew members and a child as it came down on a house.

Two months later, another chopper, an Mi-35 helicopter gunship, with five aircraft technicians on board crash-landed near oil expresser Surface Wilmar in Chitungwiza.