Botswana’s President Masisi Escapes Death As Presidential Chopper Bursts Into Flames
By Iwedi Ojinmah 6 months ago
Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi has survived a potential helicopter crash after his helicopter caught fire in the country’s second-largest city Francistown on Saturday.
The Airbus Helicopter EC225LP Super Puma Mk was acquired second-hand from Spain, for presidential duties in 2017.
Botswana Defence Force and the Office of the President on Saturday issued a statement stating that the presidential helicopter was forced to make an immediate precautionary landing as an unchecked fire suddenly developed engulfing the president's aircraft.
The announcement read in part:
“While landing at Francistown Airport, the pilots reported an engine fire indication whereupon they promptly executed an engine shut down coming down on runway 13 at the airport,” said the statement, adding that the emergency response at Francistown Airport also responded to provide assistance with fire retardant foam.
The statement further said all five passengers including Mokgweetsi Masisi and the three aircrew members were rescued and are safe.
“The BDF wishes to assure the nation that all required maintenance and safety procedures are taken to assure the safe passage of His Excellency the President as well as any other principles in their care. The same care is taken for the safe operation of all BDF flights regardless of who is on-board.” the statement concluded
Meanwhile, the statement said President Masisi (above) has ordered an investigation through a board of inquiry to determine the cause of the engine fire, the actions of the aircrews and all other circumstances surrounding this incident.
Botswana inaugurated Mokgweetsi Masisi last year as its fifth president, in a ceremony designed to highlight a smooth transition of power in one of Africa’s strongest democracies.
The ex-vice president took over from Ian Khama, who stepped down after his term limit –10 years–
The country is expected to choose a new president in national elections in October