First Fatal Eclipse Crash In Africa


South African authorities are investigating what appears to be the first fatal crash of an Eclipse light jet. The South African air force was dispatched after radio contact was lost with the EA500 on a flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town. It was being tracked at about 35,000 feet when communication ended. A Gripen fighter pilot actually spotted the aircraft spiral into a narrow ravine in the Riviersonderend area. It disintegrated but there was no fire. The aircraft was flown by its owner, Kobus Dicks, 57, a Kwazulu-Natal businessman described as an experienced pilot.

Radio contact was lost at 10:15 a.m. and the aircraft crashed about 40 minutes later. Dicks routinely used the Eclipse for business and was the first in all of Africa to own one when he bought it in 2013, according to the Cape Times online edition. The Eclipse went into service in late 2006 and there were 266 built before the company went bankrupt in 2008.