Friday 6 October 2023


DNA tests and forensic examinations of the six people, including four foreigners, who died last Friday when their light aircraft crashed in the Zvemahande area about 6km northwest of Mashava were conducted on Thursday and the remains have now been released for burial or cremation.

The victims have been identified as Indian billionaire Harpla Singh Randhawa (60) of Murowa Diamonds, his son Amer Singh Randhawa, George Sibanda (51) of Murowa Diamonds, Nikhil Mahadik Milind of Murowa Diamonds, Reginald Muchemwa (38) who was the pilot and Pichumoney Viswanath (58) of RioZim Limited, who is believed to have come into the country as a visitor.

Of the six victims, the remains of the four foreign nationals were cremated yesterday while Sibanda will be buried in South Africa where his family lives and Muchemwa in Zimbabwe.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said the identity of all the six had now been confirmed by close relatives.

“Meanwhile, the forensic analysis examination process is now complete and we are now waiting for the necessary documentation processes for the families to access the remains,” he said.

Speaking after this week’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere said the National Civil Protection Fund was being used to assist the bereaved families.

“The Riozim plane had six male persons on board and was travelling from Harare to Murowa Diamonds. The National Civil Protection Fund is being used to assist the bereaved families. Government, through the Civil Protection Unit, is meeting the following costs; forensic examination and DNA testing of the remains of the deceased persons, providing funeral assistance and psychosocial support to the bereaved families,” said Minister Muswere, while also extending Cabinet’s condolences to the bereaved families.”

Investigations are still in progress to establish the cause and contributing factors regarding the accident last Friday.

The Cessna plane crashed at Peter Farm in the Zvamahande area of Mashava on a flight from Harare to Zvishavane. The plane, owned by Rio Zimbabwe Company, is suspected to have developed a technical problem before crashing around 8am, killing all passengers and crew on board.

 The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development said on Friday the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport flight information centre advised that they lost contact with a Zimbabwean registered Cessna C206 aircraft registration Z-CAM.

“The aircraft got airborne from RGM International Airport at 06:30am Zimbabwe time, flying to Murowa near Zvishavane with six people on board. Last contact with the aircraft was at 07:03am Zimbabwe time. The FIC had checked with the destination and were told that the aircraft had not arrived.

“The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development’s air accidents and serious incidents investigation department is carrying out investigations to establish the cause and contributing factors regarding the accident in-order to draw investigation conclusions and propose appropriate safety recommendations for prevention of future accidents from similar causes.

“The Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona, sends heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of passengers and the pilot who lost their lives in the aircraft crash,” said the ministry.

In February, five people were injured when a light plane owned by mining giant, Murowa (Private) Limited force-landed near Beatrice while carrying a parcel of diamonds which were being transported under armed guard by police and private security officials. Herald


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