UPDATED: Aussies injured in vintage Convair crash

by Geoffrey Thomas and Steve Creedy
July 12, 2018
Convair 340 crash
Wreckage of the MAC Convair 340

Three Australians were on board a vintage Convair 340 that crashed near Pretoria, South Africa, on July 10.

Qantas confirmed one is current Qantas pilot and another a retired Qantas pilot. Both are in a serious condition and the  ABC reported they may have been flying the plane.

The two men were 30-year veterans of the Australian airline and had flown as A380 captains with a combined 37,000 hours flying experience.

They were identified in media reports as recently retired A380 captain Ross Kelly and Douglas Haywood, from Sydney. Both men are members of Australia’s Historical Aircraft Restoration Society and were familiar with vintage planes.

Mr Kelly’s wife, Lyndal, is believed to be the third victim and is also in a critical condition.

“We were deeply upset to learn that two Qantas pilots, one current and one retired, were onboard the vintage aircraft involved in an accident in South Africa on Tuesday. They are currently in hospital being treated for serious injuries,” Qantas said in a statement.

“This news has shocked the Qantas pilot community and everyone’s thoughts are with the families. We’ve reached out and are providing whatever support we can.”

The Australians are among 19 passengers and crew injured when the vintage aircraft, registered  ZS-BRV, has crashed during a test flight out of Wonderboom Airport, near the city of Pretoria in South Africa. One crew member, South African Chris Barnard, was killed in the crash and a worker from a factory hit by the aircraft has since died.

According to Aviation-Safety.net the aircraft, which has 20 aboard, had been donated by the owner, Rovos Air, to the Dutch aviation theme park Aviodrome.

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According to the website “during takeoff from Wonderboom Airport, the aircraft was seen trailing brown smoke from the no.1 engine.”

“Eyewitnesses also reported observing flames. The pilot flew a circuit for an emergency landing back ton runway 29. It went down about 6 km to the east of the airport. The aircraft impacted a shed and broke up. One of the crew members sustained fatal injuries.”

Convair 340 crash
Wreckage of the Convair 340. Credit Twitter

It carried the color scheme of the former Dutch airline Martin’s Air Charter (later renamed Martinair) and was to be ferried to the Netherlands with an expected arrival at Lelystad Airport on July 23, 2018, the website said.

The twin-engine Convair was built in 1954 and was damaged beyond repair.

Local emergency services said on Twitter that one person was critically injured.

“Medics from ER24 and other services are at the scene of a plane crash at Wonderboom in Pretoria,” said a spokesman for ER24.

“We have 19 injured casualties ranging from minor to critical injuries at this stage and no confirmed fatalities.”