Two New Zealanders are dead after the small plane they were flying in crashed into a mountain in a remote part of South Africa, officials say.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed it was investigating and was providing consular assistance to the families of the deceased men.
"The ministry is aware of reports of a light aircraft crash in Graskop, Limpopo, South Africa, that occurred 22 August local time," a spokeswoman said.
"The New Zealand High Commission in Pretoria is liaising with local authorities concerning reports that two New Zealanders were killed in the crash."
South African news site Beeld.com reported two men were killed when their Cessna 182 was caught in a strong wind gust and crashed into mountains in Mpumalanga.
The two men have been named by local media as Richard Primrose and John Walton.
Beeld.com reported Walton was the pilot on this flight, though Primose was also an experienced pilot.
It is thought they were flying in a formation of three.
Mpumalanga police spokesman Colonel Leonard Hlathi told Beeld.com that foresters in the area saw one of the planes "struggling".
Rescuers reportedly scrambled to the scene, but both men were dead. The bodies were reportedly being removed today.
Ian Andrews, the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association New Zealand, of which Primrose was a committee member, said he had been told Primrose had been killed while flying a light aircraft in Africa.
Andrews said Primrose had taken a group of people to go flying in Africa, as he had done on previous occasions.
"He was a fantastic guy. He was one of the top members on the committee as far as I was concerned."
Phil Pacey, a friend of Primrose's and also a member of the association, said this was the third time Primrose had organised a flying "safari" in Africa.
He said Primrose, who lived in Pukekohe, organised a group to get South Africa pilot licences and to hire planes - in this case a Cessna 182 - to fly from South Africa throughout the lower half of Africa, stopping at game reserves along the way.
He understood three planes were involved in this trip.
"He was a marvellous guy, into all sorts of community things - the volunteer fire brigade, a local flying group. A lovely guy."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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