South African Air Tragedy Takes Lives Of Promising Cyclists


New Member
Jun 23, 2004

South African Air Tragedy Takes Lives Of Promising Cyclists
Two Of The Five Lost Were Members Of South African National Team

Two of South Africa's brightest young bicycling stars were among five people killed this week when the Piper Aerostar in which they were flying went down on a deserted farm in the Cornelia District of the eastern Free State.

"All five passengers died," Free State Police spokesman Sam Sesing told the Johannasberg Mail and Guardian. He described the scene as horrible. "Wreckage is spread over a radius of one kilometer."

Cyclists Jaco de Witt and Jaco Odendaal were both members of the South African national bicycle team.

"They both had bright futures and were just all-round good guys," said their manager, Tony Harding. "They were both under 23 and they always called me Pa, so it felt like they were my own children."

There were reports of a heavy downpour at the crash site around the time the Aerostar would have been passing overhead. South Africa's civil aviation authority is investigating the accident.