(This article first appeared on Fire Aviation)
A helicopter pilot died in a crash October 23 while helping firefighters extinguish a wildfire in South Africa.
Nico Heyns, 65, was flying a Huey owned by Kishuga Aviation that was under contract to the firefighting agency Working On Fire.
The accident occurred the Vermaaklikheid area, about 40km from Riversdale, around 9:50 a.m.
Mr. Heyns was supposed to be off duty that day but interrupted his leave to help with the fire. The cause of the crash has not been determined.
We are utterly devastated by the untimely passing of our beloved pilot Nico Heyns. He will be sorely missed by us all. Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. @wo_fire pic.twitter.com/u0PXWXAVSd
— Kishugu (@kishugu) October 24, 2018
Police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie said, “Police had to arrange for the speedy removal of the body to save it from the fire that was engulfing the area.”
Mr. Heyns, a veteran pilot with more than 20 years experience, formerly owned Heyns Helicopter Service and was well known in the aviation community.
Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, and co-workers.
Working on Fire wishes to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Nico Heyns as well as colleagues and the firefighting fraternity. Our first and foremost priority at this stage is to provide the bereaved with support as needed and we will be meeting with the family. pic.twitter.com/cMenc0j9QZ
— Working on Fire (@wo_fire) October 24, 2018