South Africa 19.5.2014 07:50 am

Aircrash widow settles damages

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng

A Pretoria widow who sustained disfiguring burns and lost her husband when the light aircraft in which they were passengers crashed near Lephalale in Limpopo almost six years ago has settled her damages claim for R6.8 million.

Annerie du Plooy, 39, of Olympus in Pretoria, sued the estate of the pilot, her husband’s stepfather Spencer Watson, and his insurers after the 2008 accident in which the 60-year-old Watson was killed.

Du Plooy’s husband Henk, 31, sustained 75%t burn wounds when he dragged his wife and stepfather out of the burning wreck. He died in hospital two weeks later.

The couple were spending a weekend with family at a game reserve in Lephalale and had gone for a flight with Watson in his light aircraft.

The aircraft crashed about 200 metres past a private landing strip on the farm Donkerhoek and burst into flames on impact.

Du Plooy claimed in court papers the pilot had been negligent by attempting to land at an unregistered airfield, failing to approach the airfield at the correct airspeed and angle, not applying correct go-around procedures and failing to avoid the treetops in their flightpath.

She had sustained 35% burns to part of her face, her arms and breasts and broken her arm. She no longer had full use of her right arm and hand, and she faced further painful medical procedures and could not work due to her injuries and psychological state.

Du Plooy sued Watson’s estate and his insurers for her past and future medical expenses, loss of income, pain, suffering and disfigurement.

Du Plooy’s attorney confirmed a contingency agreement in terms of which she would pay her attorneys 10%, or R680 000, of the amount awarded to her in respect of attorney and counsel fees.

 

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