The pilot apparently had a heated argument with his wife before crashing the plane.
A 37-year-old pilot from Olifantshoek, Northern Cape, has died after crashing a private jet into two buildings and more than a dozen parked vehicles at Matsieng Aerodrome during an apparent suicide in Botswana this weekend.
Charl Viljoen, a charter pilot at Kalahari Air Services, was killed on Saturday, reportedly after a heated argument with his wife, who was attending a baby shower at the Matsieng Aerodrome, in Botswana, just outside the capital, Gabarone.
“At approximately 18h20 GMT on March 23, 2019 a 2016 Beechcraft Kingair B200 aircraft A2-MBM was involved in a ground impact incident resulting in the death of the pilot and the destruction of infrastructure at Matsieng Aerodrome in Botswana,” the Matsieng Flying Club said in a statement.
The pilot had been “an uninvited guest at a private function” at the club’s facility at Matsieng Aerodrome, the club said.
“At approximately 18h15 the aircraft approached Matsieng Aerodrome from the direction of Sir Seretse Khama Airport and made a number of low-level fly pasts from different directions past the Club facilities next to the Air Traffic Control tower.
According to information, Viljoen had arrived uninvited at a baby shower, that his wife was attending, whereafter “a massive fight broke out between the two”.
“A heated argument broke out between the two and he even slapped her (his wife). Attendees chased Viljoen away and told him that, ‘that was not the way to treat a woman’. He left and we heard an aircraft circling above. Viljoen then phoned one of his friends (attending the baby shower) from the plane and asked where his wife was. The friend started shouting for everyone to get away, as he sensed something was wrong. Shortly after, the aircraft crashed into the club facilities. Had the friend not warned everyone to get away, about 50 people would be dead,” a source said.
The source claimed that Viljoen had not only committed suicide but also attempted to kill his wife during the crash.
The Matsieng Flying Club added that members sensed that the pilot might have had an ulterior motive at the time and ordered an immediate evacuation of the club premises by the approximately fifty attendees.
“The final extreme low level run by the aircraft along runway 36 resulted in an impact with the Matsieng Flying Club facility at ground level. The Club facility and Matsieng ATC tower was destroyed on impact. The post impact fire destroyed 13 parked vehicles. There was no serious injury to any person in the vicinity of the accident scene,” the club said.