A ZAMBIA Air Force (ZAF) officer has died while his co-pilot sustained injuries after a helicopter they were flying crashed at City Airport in Lusaka.
The incident occurred around 11:00 hours yesterday when the crew returned from the Youth Day celebrations where three helicopters flew past the Freedom Statue.
Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba confirmed the death of Major Misapa Mukupa who was pronounced dead upon arrival at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where he was rushed after the accident.
Co-pilot Captain Kenneth Chilolo sustained injuries and was reported to be out of danger.
The minister said the plane lost control as it was about to land and that investigations have since been instituted.
“Yes it’s true we experienced an accident this morning around 11:14 hours when a Zambia Air Force, Z9 helicopter crashed on landing at the City Airport.
“There were two crew members and one of them sustained serious injuries and was rushed to UTH where he was pronounced dead upon arrival,” Mr Mwamba said.
ZAF sources said the first and second helicopters landed safely, but that third one started spinning before landing and crashed to the ground.
Maj Mukupa, who is based at ZAF Lusaka, was seated on the side which hit the ground and was injured severely. He died a few moments later.
Mr Mwamba said the Government was saddened by the death of the officer adding that Maj Mukupa’s next of kin had already been informed about the tragedy.
Three months ago, a ZAF helicopter carrying 10 passengers made a forced landing in Shiwang’angu District after it developed a fault.
The plane developed a fault on the power system and made an emergency landing, but no one was injured.
On board the 13-seater plane were then Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Effron Lungu, Muchinga Province Minister Charles Banda and his Permanent Secretary Charles Sipanje.