Two Pilatus PC-7 trainers flown by the Botswana Defence Force’s Air Wing collided in mid-air on Thursday. Although all four pilots ejected, one died of wounds received during the crash.
According to Mmegi Online, the two aircraft were manoeuvring in close proximity whilst on a standard training mission. Whilst performing a manoeuvre their tails collided, causing the aircraft to catch fire and begin descending. All four pilots bailed out, with one PC-7 crashing over Letlhakeng Primary School and another coming down on house, narrowly avoiding killing a woman and child there.
One of the pilots was burned by the wreckage and later died of his wounds at Gaborone hospital. Apparently his parachute got caught on the aircraft as he was trying to exit the aircraft.
Xinhua reported Botswana Army Colonel Paul Sharp as saying that the incident occurred 60 kilometres west of the capital Gaborone. An investigation has been launched into the cause of the crash.
Before the accident the Botswana Defence Force Air Wing flew six Pilatus PC-7s.
On April 13 the Botswana Defence Force signed a contract with Pilatus for five new PC-7 Mk II turboprop trainers to replace its existing PC-7 fleet. Deliveries will conclude in early 2013, enabling the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to transition to the PC-7 Mk II during 2013.
The Air Wing of the Botswana Defence Force operates 14 Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighters. It next most important aircraft are its PC-7s, which can be armed. Of Botswana’s 10,000-15,000 soldiers, 2,500-3,000 serve with the BDF Air Wing.