A young Botswana Defence Force (BDF) pilot from Rakops (names withheld) lost his life on Friday morning on the eve of BDF Day Celebrations in a BF5 Fighter aircraft crash near Gaborone Golf Club.
The Botswana Defence Director of Protocol and Public Affairs, Major F. Maswabi, confirmed in a statement that the accident occured around 1145 hrs during BDF Day Celebrations preparatrions which have been taking place for the past two weeks preceding the annual event which is commemorated in Gaborone at the national stadium.
It is reported that the deceased was flying solo in the aircraft and no other casualties were reported on the ground as there were no people in the area where the crash occurred. The BDF declined to reveal the deceased’s identity on Friday as they had not informed his next of kin. They also declined to comment further on the matter stating that this may interfere with ongoing investigations on the incident.
“As a matter of urgency, the Commander has directed the appointment of an investigating team to examine the cause of the crash,” reads a statement signed by Major Maswabi.
Names of the deceased are still withheld until his next of kin have been informed. The BDF requests the public tho accord the family and friends the privacy they deserve to mourn their loved one.
Recent BDF Crashes
The BDF is no stranger to aviation gaffes. Last year in February a Botswana Defence Force CASA 212 aircraft was scheduled to transport the then Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi to a Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) youth league congress in Tsabong crashed soon after take off near Thebephatshwa air base. Three army officers on board were killed.
In June 2014, a BDF Ecureuil helicopter crashed during a routine training at Thebephatshwa Air Base. A press release from the BDF at the time stated that, two pilots who were on board the aircraft were taken to Thebephatshwa Hospital in a conscious condition.