Two paratroop trainees die in accident


Two Military Skills Development Systems trainees undergoing jump instruction 44 Parachute Regiment at Tempe in Bloemfontein have been killed in an accident.

The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans and the office of the Chief of the South African National Defence Force in a joint statement says the two were killed in a “parachute incident” yesterday morning at approximately 10.30.

“Both members were part of the January 2009 Military Skills Development Systems (MSDS) intake,” Brigadier General Marthie Visser said.

“When the incident happened they were undergoing scheduled static line parachute training as part of their final phase of qualifying them as paratroopers.

“An investigation by South African Police (Service) and a Board of Inquiry by South African National Defence Force has been convened.

The soldiers were identified as Rifleman John Mpshe, 23, from Brits in the North West Province and Rifleman Thabang Mokoena, 22, from Wepener in the Free State.

Funeral arrangements of the deceased will be announced once confirmed by their next of kin.

“Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, the Acting Secretary for Defence, Mr Tsepe Motumi, the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Godfrey Ngwenya and Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Solly Shoke have extended their sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the deceased,” Visser said.