Herald Reporters
Two Air Force of Zimbabwe pilots escaped death by a whisker when their plane crashed at an open area in Gweru yesterday after developing a fault.

Zimbabwe National Army director-general responsible for policy, public relations and international affairs Brigadier-General John Mupande confirmed the incident, saying investigations were underway to determine the exact cause of the accident.

“The Commander Zimbabwe Defence Forces General Constantine Chiwenga commended the pilots for having taken all precautionary measures that saved the lives of people and further prevented damages to civilian property.” Brig-Gen Mupande said.

The pilots were taken to Thornhill Air Base hospital for a medical check up, while more than 100 AFZ officers, some in plain clothes, descended on the crash scene and movement into the affected section was restricted. A Gweru City Council fire tender was denied access to the area since the fire from the crash had been put out by AFZ fire tenders. A resident said he heard a loud bang as the plane crashed close to his house and saw a ball of fire and smoke coming from the crash site.

A Karakorum-8 (K-8) is a single-engine, advanced jet trainer and light attack aircraft designed and manufactured jointly by Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation (HAIC) of China and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) to replace the ageing Cessna T-37 Tweet jet trainers which is in service with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF).