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Woman arrested in connection with fatal helicopter crash at Swakopmund

A woman was arrested on Sunday in connection with a helicopter crash at Swakopmund last week which claimed two lives, according to Erongo police spokesperson inspector Ileni Shapumba.

The woman is reportedly facing various charges, said Shapumba.

“We have arrested a woman in relation to falsification of the flight test permit, certificate of registration, as well as violation of other civil aviation regulations. We are busy charging her formally, and she will appear in court today (Tuesday, 25 July),” Shapumba said.

She faces eight charges, including fraud; forgery and uttering; and six violations of the Namibian Civil Aviation Regulations, which include, among others, falsification, reproduction, or alteration of maintenance documents, requirement of approval, manual of procedure, quality assurance system, and report on defects or non-airworthy conditions.

The Robin-44 helicopter crash in question resulted in the untimely deaths of Jacques Jacobs and Dirk von Weitz.

Further investigation revealed that the Robin-44 helicopter involved was brought in from South Africa and had to undergo specific technical checks, which involved administrative responsibilities to facilitate the aircraft’s registration in Namibia.

“The flight test permit used was allegedly forged. The helicopter, not a Namibian but a South African one, had to be licensed in Namibia before it took flight,” said Shapumba.

The helicopter was on a test flight when the accident happened.

While some argue that the forged documents did not cause the accident, others believe the accident may have been averted had the official inspection and formalities been conducted prior to take-off.

The Directorate of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigations in the Ministry of Works and Transport has moved the wreckage to Eros Airport in Windhoek for further investigation by aviation accident specialists, while the transport minister is expected to deliver an incident report with findings within the next month.