The Air Force of Zimbabwe has released the names of the two officers who perished in the crash that occurred at Charles Prince Airport in Mt Hampden on Thursday.
These are Squadron Leader Taurayi Jombo (36), who was captain of the aircraft. He is survived by wife Ennie Rumbidzai Gundwane Jumbo and two children.
The second victim is Air Lieutenant Evidence Edzai Begede (28) who is survived by wife Laura and one child.
The two met their fate when their aircraft crashed into a compound near Charles Prince Airport. The aircraft was part of a formation carrying out rehearsals for the Big African Air Show to be held on Sunday. On the ground no casualties were reported.
The two officers were qualified AFZ fighter pilots who were deployed at 6 Squadron based at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru.
Squadron leader Taurayi Jombo had a career spanning 15 years in the Air Force of Zimbabwe. Besides flying the SF260 aircraft that he perished in, he was also a qualified helicopter pilot.
Burial arrangements will be announced in due course. Mourners for the late Jombo are gathered at Block 3 No.1 AF 90 at Manyame Airbase. Begede is being mourned at Thornhill Airforce Base Flats, Block A in Gweru.
In a statement last night, commander of the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, said although they could not as yet state the cause of the crash, they received with shock and deepest sorrow the news of the deaths of the pilots.
"We are deeply saddened by the aircraft accident which has claimed the lives of our officers. We extend our deepest condolences to the families of these courageous officers who died in the line of duty," he said.
Although details of the accident were sketchy, the pilots were reportedly training for an airshow, flying in formation before the plane crashed.
One of the pilots was beheaded as a result of the impact of the crash.
Meanwhile, AFZ spokesperson Squadron Leader Simon Matingwina has confirmed that the planned air show which attracts participants from beyond Zimbabwe’s borders will go ahead as planned.