Five die as Netcare helicopter crashes in KZN

Helicopter crash site in KZN. Picture: Northern Natal News

An eyewitness has claimed that the helicopter broke apart in mid-air, and police are still on the scene searching for bodies.

A Netcare medical rescue chopper has crashed near the N3 between Colenso and Ladysmith killing all five crew members on board.

This was confirmed by Netcare in a statement on Thursday.

“We are profoundly saddened, and our deepest condolences are with the families, and loved ones of our colleagues aboard Netcare 1 air ambulance which was carrying a pilot and four health care personnel on board when it crashed near Bergville,” said Netcare’s Craig Grindell.

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“We are shocked beyond words at the tragic loss of these healthcare heroes. The details surrounding the crash are not yet clear. We will however issue a further statement once more information becomes available and the next of kin of those aboard have been notified.”

According to an eyewitness, who spoke to Northern Natal News, the helicopter had broken apart in mid-air. The farm worker claimed that there was visible smoke and fire before the helicopter hit the ground.

Local fire and rescue services were on the scene on Thursday afternoon, extinguishing flames around the crash site, while police were said to be combing the area for bodies.

The helicopter was apparently en route to Newcastle from Durban, where it was meant to pick up a patient for an airlift back to Durban.

The whole of Netcare falls silent as we bow our heads in tribute, respect, love and memory of our fallen colleagues and frontline heroes who have died in the line of duty,” Netcare’s chief executive officer Dr Ricard Friedland said in their statement.

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