Hansie Cronje's plane crash January 6, 2006

Judge appointed for Cronje inquest

Cricinfo staff

The plane crash that killed Hansie Cronje in 2002 is back in the headlines as the long-awaited inquest draws closer. It will determine whether anyone was criminally responsible for the crash at Vandalenskloff near George.

The Cape Argus reports that the Justice Siraj Desai has been appointed to conduct the inquest. In May 2004 a 111-page report from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that Cronje's death was a result of pilot error and instrument failure.

The CAA findings make a criminal case unlikely and The Daily Telegraph, in London, reported Ewie Cronje, Hansie's father, saying that they will not sue. "We've already reached closure on Hansie's death," he said. "This has been closed as far as we are concerned. It's difficult to move on from something like this Just pray that you never find yourself in the situation we have been in for the last few years."

Due to the technical nature of the evidence it is expected that Judge Desai will be assisted by two pilots. But the State advocate Willem Tarentaal, who will lead the evidence, said Desai's appointment did not suggest foul play in Cronje's death. "This was a death caused by other than natural causes, that's why an inquest is being held. It's routine."

The CAA report did reveal that a number of mistakes in the cockpit - including the pilots' apparent failure to react appropriately to warnings from their on-board navigational equipment - had led to the tragedy and concluded that the accident was 'unsurvivable.'