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article image5 die in helicopter crash in Kruger National Park, South Africa

By Anne Sewell     Mar 31, 2013 in World
Five air force personnel have died in a helicopter crash on Saturday evening, during an anti-rhino poaching operation in Kruger National Park. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
According to a statement from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the team was on a regular patrol of the park.
Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said, "The helicopter was on a scheduled aerial patrol of the Kruger National Park as part of Operation RHINO, the anti-rhino poaching operation, in the Kruger National Park."
According to Mabanga, at around 7 pm, the South African Air Force Agusta A109 light utility helicopter crashed, killing all five personnel on board.
"A preliminary investigation is currently underway to establish the sequence of events that led to the fatal crash of the helicopter."
Mabanga also said that chiefs of the SANDF expressed their heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the deceased.
South Africa is attempting to stem the widespread poaching of rhinos, whose horns are sold to buyers in Asia. It is believed that rhino horns cure various diseases. However, no medical evidence supports these claims.
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, and spans an area of 19,633 square kilometres (7,580 sq mi) in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga in northeastern South Africa. The park is home to the famous "Big Five", namely lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
More about South Africa, Kruger national park, Helicopter, Crash, Anti poaching
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