Helicopter carrying Sata’s aides, minister crash-lands

A ZAMBIA Air Force crew and senior government officials that included President Michael Sata’s secretary for Press George Chellah escaped unhurt after the helicopter they were in,crash landed in Shiwangandu area of Muchinga Province.

President Sata’s helicopter which was already airborne flew back and landed so he could ascertain they were no casualties.

A bystander was however, hurt in the aftermath of the crash.

Others on board included Muchinga Province minister Charles Banda and his permanent Secretary Charles Sipanje.

The officials were in Shiwangandu to witness the commissioning of a mini hydro power station by the head of state.

It is not clear what caused the ZAF aircraft AF 746 to crash land as air force’s head public relations referred all querries to the Ministry of defence

Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba when contacted said he would issue a statement later in the day after investigations are carried out.

Eye witnesses however, said the aircraft seemed to develop what could be described as power failure and failed to ascend before spiralling out of control towards a tree and then coming to rest near a tent erected to provide shelter.

People under the tent scampered for safety from the malfunctioning aircraft whose propellers tore off part of the marquee.

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