AN Air Force of Zimbabwe instructor and a female student pilot died when a training plane they were flying developed a technical fault and crashed at Dabuka in Somabula on the outskirts of Gweru yesterday.
The two were on routine training from Josiah Tungamirai Air Force Base when the accident occurred. They were identified as Mkhululi Dube, the instructor and his student, only identified as Sweswe. Their ranks could not be ascertained yesterday.
The Airforce of Zimbabwe was by last night still to release an official statement on the accident which occurred at around 2 30 pm.
When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the scene a military medical team had just arrived and was trying to retrieve the bodies that were trapped in the wreckage of the small plane.
Witnesses said the plane which was heading southwards was trying to make a U-turn when it crashed.
“This is usually the training ground for pilots and we usually gather to view their flying prowess. We were surprised when the plane started jerking.
In the twinkle of an eye the plane had crashed and there was a cloud of dust. We rushed to the scene but we could not help,” said a witness who requested not to be named.
A team from the Air Force of Zimbabwe arrived at the scene some 20 minutes after the crash and dispersed villagers who had just gathered before retrieving the bodies.
Josiah Tungamirai Acting Base Commander, Group Captain Esswein Masuku declined to comment over the matter referring all questions to the Airforce of Zimbabwe Headquarters.