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Minister Creecy expresses condolences to family of pilot killed during firefighting operation in Mpumalanga


23 JUNE 2023

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, expresses her deepest condolences to the family of Kishugu Aviation aerial firefighting pilot, Justin van As, who lost his life in an aircraft accident whilst busy with aerial firefighting operation near Ngodwana, Mpumalanga, on Wednesday afternoon, 21 June 2023.

“At a time of great sadness for the family of Justin van As, as well as the firefighting fraternity, I salute Justin’s bravery and dedication to his work. I wish to pay homage and respect to a true firefighting hero who remained forever committed to saving lives and protecting our environment,” said Minister Creecy.

Klerksdorp born Justin van As (49) joined Kishugu Aviation on the 1st of May 2019 as an AT802 AFF Pilot (Fixed Wing Water Bomber Pilot). Justin leaves behind his son, aged 18, as well as his wife, Amelia. He was a keen reader, especially historical events, loved research and philosophizing about his readings.

The cause of the accident is still unknown, but the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has started with its investigation.

“The safety of our pilots and ground crews remains a top priority and Kishugu Aviation will be working with SACAA to determine the cause of the accident. We are unfortunately unable to provide any further details at this stage,” said the Minister.

For media inquiries contact Peter Mbelengwa on 082 611 8197



Kishugu Aviation is a subsidiary of Kishugu Holdings which forms part of the Working on Fire - Kishugu Joint Venture which implements the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment's Working on Fire programme.   
Kishugu Aviation provides aerial firefighting services in the form of aircraft, aircraft support vehicles and pilots to the Working on Fire programme.


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