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August 9, 2006
The fateful aircraft that killed Hansie Cronje in 2002 had incomplete maintenance records, an inquest into the crash heard yesterday.
The only witness called to testify, Dr Andre de Kock, Civil Aviation Authority senior accident investigator, confirmed that Airquarius Aviation did not have its own maintenance crew and subcontracted its aircraft maintenance work.
When questioned by assessor Bruce Hyde on how pilots could determine whether defects were rectified if the maintaince folio was incomplete, de Kock said it could have been signed in the office only. "Technically speaking it should be signed off in the flight folio . . . [in] smaller operators there are closer links between ground crew and pilots," he said.
On Monday, the inquest - presided over by Siraj Desai, a Cape High Court judge - heard that pilot error, faulty equipment and inclement weather contributed to the fatal crash. Desai asked de Kock if it was "reasonable for a pilot not to respond to 13 warnings". After he ruled in favour of an application by independent newspapers to obtain crash photographs, except those which depicted the deceased, Desai said a decision would be handed down on August 14.
Gavin Bramson, the managing director of Airquarius, and his attorney Carel le Roux, were also present at the hearing. The inquest is taking place in the Cape Town High Court.
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