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Pilot dies in WCape helicopter crash

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A pilot died in a helicopter crash while fighting fire in Cape Point on Sunday, Cape Town mayor Patrica de Lille said.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the legendary pilot, Willem “Bees” Marais who died in a helicopter crash whilst providing aerial combatting against the fire at Olifantsbos in the Cape Point Nature Reserve this afternoon,” De Lille said in a statement.

At least 500 people had been evacuated since the fire began in Muizenberg.

The fire started last Sunday and was contained, but flared up again just after on Monday in Muizenberg above Boyes Drive. It was fanned by strong winds.

It spread to Ou Kaapse Weg, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, and Tokai.

One city fire-fighter sustained burn wounds and 52 frail-care residents from a Noordhoek retirement village were treated for smoke inhalation.

More than 2000 people were helping to quell the fire during the week, the environmental affairs department said at the time.

De Lille said counselling was being provided to Marais’ colleagues following the crash.

She extended condolences to Marais’ family, friends and colleagues.

“The public safety and aviation fraternity has lost a great pilot.”

“We salute him and pay tribute to him for the contribution that he made in saving lives and protecting property.”

De Lille said Marais was a skilled pilot who also worked at the South African Air Force, South African Police Services and the South African Red Cross Air Mercy Service.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority would investigate the crash, she said. SAPA


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1 comment

  1. Last week my partner had heard the giggling gourmet on Cape Talk that we needed to bring comfort food to the firemen and said I should make pumpkin fritters When I went to deliver my humble batch of freshly prepared pumpkin fritters to the lakeside Fire department that day together with some sun screen there were so many people coming and going, almost like an organised ant hill each going about very conscious tasks. Yet as I walked in I was met with such gratitude and personal attention. The man who took the sunscreen was so appreciative and directed me to the food hall which had so much to organise and despatch. I wondered whether my little contribution would even be seen. As the lady who took the fritters she treated them as if I had brought the most precious gift. She said, ‘Oh these are still warm; let’s take them directly to the control room. They are under such pressure.’ Such care and compassion.

    So when I think of all the people involved on our behalf, I would like to offer a complimentary skin treatment and make up session for all those who were so snowed under during this past week. Perhaps the wives/partners of the firemen would also like to come as some compensation for the worry they must have had. The firemen might want to get rid of all the ash in their pores and forgo the make up session! There is no expiry limit on the offer. For anyone who was involved and would like to come and spoil themselves need only to email linoia@mweb.co.za or call me 0722587132 to make a time that suits both of us. I live in lakeside.
    these words that I posted last week still stand for those brave and dedicated people who assisted throughout the awful (in every sense of the word) but now the relief of the end of the fire changes into the deepest gratitude that one man lays down his life for the rest of us here. there are no more words but Hallelujah to Last week my partner had heard the giggling gourmet on Cape Talk that we needed to bring comfort food to the firemen and said I should make pumpkin fritters When I went to deliver my humble batch of freshly prepared pumpkin fritters to the lakeside Fire department that day together with some sun screen there were so many people coming and going, almost like an organised ant hill each going about very conscious tasks. Yet as I walked in I was met with such gratitude and personal attention. The man who took the sunscreen was so appreciative and directed me to the food hall which had so much to organise and despatch. I wondered whether my little contribution would even be seen. As the lady who took the fritters she treated them as if I had brought the most precious gift. She said, ‘Oh these are still warm; let’s take them directly to the control room. They are under such pressure.’ Such care and compassion.

    So when I think of all the people involved on our behalf, I would like to offer a complimentary skin treatment and make up session for all those who were so snowed under during this past week. Perhaps the wives/partners of the firemen would also like to come as some compensation for the worry they must have had. The firemen might want to get rid of all the ash in their pores and forgo the make up session! There is no expiry limit on the offer. For anyone who was involved and would like to come and spoil themselves need only to email linoia@mweb.co.za or call me 0722587132 to make a time that suits both of us. I live in lakeside.
    Although these words, written last week, still stand for those dedicated souls who battled tirelessly for the safety of all of us, the death of Willem Bees Marais demands contemplation on how one man lays down his life for others. In the deepening silence can be heard – Halleluia

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