Impalila jittery over rudimentary runway

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Aron Mushaukwa
Katima Mulilo

Residents of Impalila are concerned with the Island’s rudimentary runway which is surrounded by overgrown bushes and aircraft can no longer safely land on the island as could be attested by the latest incident in which a South African registered light aircraft crashed though all its four passengers escaped unhurt.

A week ago the aircraft with the registration number ZS-LPY belonging to Bush Pilot Adventures crash-landed on the breath-taking Namibian island where four countries namely, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia converge making it popular among tourists.

According to the Zambezi Regional Police Commissioner Karel Theron, the aircraft departed from Rundu Airport at around 12h40 on Friday 19th of May and it was destined to Kasane Airport in Botswana. However due to unforeseen reasons its pilot decided to land on Impalila runway.

This however proved a terrible miscalculation as the runway has not been utilised recently and is surrounded by thick bushes. The aircraft crashed after its right wing ploughed into the roadside thicket and the pilot lost control. No injuries were reported.
All the four passengers including the pilot were Swiss nationals.

Speaking to this reporter one of the community member Patrick Simataa questioned why the runway has not been maintained.

“We had a lodge owner whose planes use the land on the runway and he is the one who use to help maintain it, however since he passed away, the runway has not been maintained,” explained Simataa.

Simataa added this sends a bad reputation as no tourists will be willing to land on Impalila following the accident. “This is the time tourists visit the island and now, they will be afraid to land, I therefore call on the government to do something about this airport,” pleaded Simataa.

Simataa was also concerned as to why the plane has not been removed as it is partly in the road and it is obstructing traffic. “They should at least remove it as it now just in the road,” he added.

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