Fatal helicopter crash caught on camera in Cape Town CBD [GRAPHIC]

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Taped off the news, Wednesday the 10 February 1999.

I went in to Town, Strand Street was cordoned off but I snuck past the barriers. There was debris everywhere, including rotors. I took home a small piece.

A Mil Mi-8MTV helicopter crashed into the roof of an office block in central Cape Town, South Africa, on 10 February, killing its four crew.

The helicopter, operated by Heyns Helicopters of Nelspruit, was carrying an underslung load – an air conditioning unit – to a nearby building when its tail rotor hit a roof-mounted billboard and the tailboom sheared off.

The pilot lost control and the aircraft fell onto the roof of an office block, exploding on impact. Investigators from the South African Civil Aviation Authority are examining the operator’s pre-mission planning and reconnaissance, the marshalling arrangements, and the weather.

New regulations governing the operation of helicopters with external loads were recently published as part of South Africa’s new aviation legislation. These include the mandatory aid of a ground marshal communicating with the crew via radio or hand-signals. If a marshal cannot be employed, the helicopter must have a mirror enabling the crew to see beyond the tail-rotor.

Thanks Aruana Zeelie for the info.

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Helicopter Explosion
(a poem I wrote at the time)

The chaos is over
The collision has happened
The tail did break off
The explosion did occur
The fire was put out
The withered, charred corpses were removed
The steel skeleton was taken away
But something remained
Not only a black mark

What do the people gaze at?
Crowds of them
Looking up at nothing
To the building top where the helicopter crashed
All is gone yet something lingers
The terror, the fright, the death

I climb under the barrier
Past the ratels – SAPs and SADF
Past the soldiers, the cops
The road is littered, Strand Street
I pick up a twisted metal
A souvenir to take home
A physical piece of the news
Then move on

But some remain
A show so spectacular
A Guy Fawkes, the Unexpected, the Unordinary
The Violence and death
Yet we missed it
Content with lingerings

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