Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Reports of Zimbabwe plane accident ‘just a drill’

By Never Kadungure

The British government via its Foreign Office Ministry has had to issue a statement clarifying that a reported ‘accident’ involving a plane travelling from London to Zimbabwe while attempting to land was in fact a drill.

Nehanda Radio was inundated with inquiries from worried Zimbabweans wanting to know what had happened and if it was an Air Zimbabwe plane involved in the accident.

Aviation officials in Zimbabwe misread the drill and rushed to claim that a Boeing 767 was attempting to land at Harare International airport when it was involved in an accident late on Thursday. They further went to say some passengers were injured. David Chawota, the CEO of the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority was quoted on Thursday saying;

“I can confirm that a 767 plane coming from London has had an accident at Harare airport. I am not at the site, but there are just injuries, no deaths. I cannot name the airline involved or say more at this particular time. We are trying to establish what has caused the accident. We have set up an emergency help line desk to assist.”

But a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman told the UK Daily Telegraph;

“As we understand it, it’s a drill, it isn’t real, it hasn’t really happened. We have got somebody on the way to the airport just to check.  We have spoken to airport and air authorities and they say it’s a drill.”

Officials in Zimbabwe have since retracted their earlier statement and confirmed the ‘accident’ was indeed a “planned drill” to test emergency responses.  No airline was named as having being involved in the ‘accident’ a tell tale sign that it’s a drill. It’s reported there were ambulances and police around the airport as part of the drill.

In November last year, an Air Zimbabwe plane veered off the runway in Harare after hitting a group of warthogs. Two passengers were injured in the incident.