Namibia
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Culpable homicide among charges against woman linked to fatal helicopter crash

Antje Nauhaus (34), who is accused of fraud, forgery, contravention of civil aviation regulations, and culpable homicide, made her first appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

This follows a fatal helicopter crash on 17 July, which led to the deaths of pilot and flight instructor Jacques Jacobs (54) and aviation technician Dirk von Weitz (29).

State prosecutor Anita Likius argued against bail, saying it was not in the interest of the public or the administration of justice due to the serious nature of the charges.

She said there were also fears that Nauhaus would interfere in the ongoing investigation, and that she could flee.

Magistrate Nelao Brown accepted the state’s application, denying bail and remanding Nauhaus in custody at Walvis Bay until 2 October, pending further investigation.

Nauhaus was told she has the right to formaly apply for bail and is represented by defence lawyer Willem Greyling.

National police spokesperson deputy commissioner Kauna Shikwambi provided a detailed incident report, outlining the circumstances leading to Nauhaus’ arrest.

“[The suspect] was arrested at her residence at Swakopmund and charged with fraud, forgery and uttering between 29 June and 12 July this year,” Shikwambi said.

“She allegedly unlawfully and intentionally misrepresented, forged, and altered certificates of the registration and flight test permit of the R22 helicopter owned by a Namibian-based aviation company.”

More charges were later added, and the police have confiscated various items from Nauhaus’ residence and the aviation company’s offices.

The alleged violations of the Civil Aviation Act encompass the falsification, reproduction, or alteration of maintenance documents, approval requirements, procedure manuals, quality assurance systems, and reports on defects or non-airworthy conditions.

The ill-fated Robin-22 helicopter, brought in from South Africa, was required to undergo specific technical checks and administrative procedures for registration in Namibia.

“The flight test permit used was allegedly forged. The helicopter had to be licensed in Namibia before it took off,” said Erongo police spokesperson inspector Ileni Shapumba.

The accident took place during a test flight.

The Directorate of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations in the Ministry of Works and Transport have moved the wreckage to Eros Airport in Windhoek for further examination by aviation accident specialists.

The transport minister is expected to deliver an incident report within the next month.