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Cashel South African Air Force Alouette crash

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Cashel South African Air Force Alouette crash
Cashel South African Air Force Alouette crash is located in Zimbabwe
Cashel
Cashel
Cashel South African Air Force Alouette crash (Zimbabwe)
Accident
Date23 December 1975
SummaryCrashed after flying into a hawser cable.
SiteCashel, Rhodesia
Aircraft
Aircraft typeAérospatiale Alouette III helicopter
OperatorSouth African Air Force
Flight originUmtali
DestinationMelsetter
Crew6
Fatalities5
Survivors1

On 23 December 1975 an Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopter of the South African Air Force carrying a crew of two and four Rhodesian army officers crashed near Cashel in Rhodesia after it collided with a hawser cable whilst in-flight.

Accident[edit | edit source]

During the Rhodesian Bush War, an Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopter of the South African Air Force crewed by a pilot and a flight technician was flying from Umtali, Rhodesia to Melsetter with four Rhodesian Army officers as passengers. These were Major-General John Shaw, Colonel David Parker, Captain John Lamb and Captain Ian Robinson. Parker had ended his tenure as commanding officer of the Rhodesian Light Infantry almost a month earlier on 30 November, whereupon he was promoted from Lieutenant-Colonel to the rank of Colonel.

Flying at low altitude in accordance with procedure, the helicopter flew into a rusty, long forgotten hawser cable near Cashel just south of Umtali. The cable had years before been used to pass logs down a steep slope and was unmarked on any maps. The helicopter broke up, spun out of control and crashed. All on board were killed except for the pilot, who was seriously injured, losing one of his legs.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The historians Hannes Wessels and P. J. H. Petter-Bowyer agree that the deaths of the Rhodesian officers, in particular the death of Colonel Parker, affected the course of the conflict in the guerrillas' favour: Shaw was Rhodesia's "next Army Commander", says Petter-Bowyer, and Parker "its finest field commander". The Colonel was "earmarked for bigger things", Wessels writes, "... his loss was a considerable blow to the Rhodesian war effort."[1][2]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Petter-Bowyer 2005, pp. 248–249
  2. Wessels 2010, p. 201


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