Board of inquiry for Military helicopter crash. Wing Commander Thomas Tinashe Manyowa, Flight Lieutenant Anita Mapiye and aircraft technician Flight Sergeant Tinodiwanashe Chikamhi died after their chopper plunged into a house in the Chinyika area. Government has set up a board of inquiry to investigate the cause of Friday’s helicopter crash which killed two Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) pilots and a flight technician in Goromonzi, Mashonaland East Province.
Eighteen-month-old Jade Pfenyere, who was sleeping inside the house, also died in the accident. Speaking to families of the deceased after visiting the accident scene yesterday, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the inquiry will determine the cause of the crash.
A board of inquiry is an investigative process conducted in response to an event that adversely affects the performance, reputation and machinery belonging to the military. “Government has set up a board of inquiry to determine the real cause of the crash which will be revealed once we have concluded investigations,” she said.
“Thereafter, we will then look at issues such as state liability and so forth. At the moment there are a lot of questions about what really transpired. “However, we now await the investigations and the outcome.”
Minister Muchinguri also paid tribute to the deceased AFZ staff for their dedication to duty and sacrifice for the country. “Due to climate change, our army and defence personnel are now under new attacks which are non-traditional threats.
“The defence personnel are now being required to fly into disaster areas to rescue citizens and at times deliver foodstuffs. “We witnessed that during Cyclone Idai in 2019, our personnel had to fly into flooded areas. These were the first people to enter the impassable cloudy places.
“So these are the new threats and challenges that our personnel are facing. They need to be trained and equipped with skills that will enable them to be able to fly into such areas.
“That is why they were training in these areas.” Minister Muchingurisaid Flight Lieutenant Mapiye flew her and President Mnangagwa to Kwekwe last week where they attended the launch of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the province.
AFZ Commander, Air Marshal Elson Moyo, said he was saddened by the incident. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of such young and dedicated cadres,” he said. “They have left a gap which will not be easy to fill especially given that the industry has few women pilots.”
In a statement, the AFZ said the crew was dedicated to their work. “Flight Lieutenant Mapiye was born on April 3, 1991 in Harare and was attested into the AFZ on September 27, 2012.
“She earned her flying wings on July 1, 2017 after graduating at Number 6 Squadron at Josiah Tungamirai Air Force Base.” In 2019, she made history when she successfully completed a helicopter conversion course to become the first female combat helicopter pilot in the AFZ.