THREE escaped unhurt after a private charter plane crash-landed at Bulawayo J.Mqabuko Nkomo Airport on Tuesday evening.

THREE people escaped unhurt after a private charter plane crash-landed at Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport on Tuesday evening.

The plane, a Beech Baron 58, was coming from Charles Prince Airport in Harare when it “belly landed” after it developed a mechanical fault, just before 7PM.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) chief executive officer Mr David Chaota said the plane’s pilot communicated that the plane had developed a mechanical fault before landing.

“The pilot communicated that his plane had developed a mechanical fault because the undercarriage failed to extend resulting in the  belly landing.

“In simpler terms, the wheels failed to release resulting in the light crash. There were no casualties, the pilot and his two passengers escaped unhurt,” said Mr Chaota.

He said the plane was intact with no exterior damage.

Mr Chaota said the plane did not block the runway as alleged by some people but had to be moved away for further investigations.

A source however said after the crash-landing at around 7PM, authorities quickly removed the aircraft from the runway and minutes later, an Air Zimbabwe plane landed.

“The plane crash-landed here in the evening shortly before the Harare-Bulawayo flight landed.

“There was panic as some people thought it was an     Air Zimbabwe plane which had crashed,” said the source.

In January, a Central Air Traffic Services (CATS) aircraft that was transporting gold from Bulawayo to Harare crash-landed in Kennilworth, Bubi District in Matabeleland North due to engine failure.

The Cessna 206 aircraft, which had two people on board, was transporting 22 kilogrammes of gold worth about $800 000.

One of the two people sustained minor injuries following the crash. By Auxillia Kanongomara-chronicle

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