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Tragic: South African pilot killed in crash during air show in Zimbabwe

A South African pilot, Mark “Sammy” Sampson (54), was killed during an air show display at the Charles Prince Airport in Zimbabwe on Tuesday night.

Sampson from the Marksmen Aviation Team was killed during an aerobatic stunt.

His team described him as an “outstanding aviator, honoured team member, trusted number-4 and loyal friend”.

“It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that today, the Marksmen Aerobatic Team can confirm that Mark Sampson … perished in a flying incident in Harare, Zimbabwe.

“The Marksmen Aerobatic Team were on the return leg of a roundabout trip from Cape Town to Nairobi, where the team had performed a successful aerobatic formation display at the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) Museum Air Show, held in conjunction with the Aero Club of East Africa.

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“The Marksmen Aerobatic Team is devastated and we are working with the Zimbabwean authorities,” read their statement.

Details of the actual crash and what caused are not yet immediately clear.

On Saturday, Sampson was in Kenya where he performed during the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) airshow at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi.

Before his death, on his Facebook wall, Sampson was tagged in a post about the round trip to East Africa.

“A great weekend in Kenya displaying at Wilson airport in Nairobi. We were invited and hosted by the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in conjunction with the Aero Club of East Africa (ACEA). We were treated to exceptional Kenyan hospitality.

“The Museum Airshow Festival was held at the Uhuru Gardens in Nairobi and we were fortunate to display with the highly skilled aviators from the Kenyan Airforce (KAF) as well as a number of other commercial operators including Kenya Airways.

“We were fortunate to meet with the President of Kenya, his Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta, a keen aviator (a member of ACEA) and a new fan of ours.

The post stated: “A special thank you to the Aero Club of East Africa for the amazing hospitality, without a doubt one of the best and most impressive flying clubs we have seen.