Qantas pilots fighting for life after South African plane crash

Ross Kelly, who recently retired, and his wife Lyndal, have been injured in the crash. Picture: Facebook. Courtesy: 9NEWS

Three Australians, including two Qantas pilots, are among those injured after a deadly plane crash in South Africa.

A vintage Convair-340 plane came down and crashed into a dairy farm during a test flight in Pretoria on Tuesday, killing a South African crewman and injuring Qantas pilots Ross Kelly and Douglas Haywood, as well at 18 others.

A factory worker was seriously injured in the crash and later died.

The Sydney pilots, one who recently retired, were taken to Johannesburg Hospital with serious injuries.

Mr Kelly’s wife Lyndal was also on-board and was taken to hospital in a stable condition.

A statement has been released by Qantas this morning.

“We were deeply upset to learn that two Qantas pilots, one current and one retired, were on board the vintage aircraft involved in an accident in South Africa on Tuesday,” the statement read.

“This news has shocked the Qantas pilot community and everyone’s thoughts are with the families.

“We’ve reached out and are providing whatever support we can.”

Both men have flown for Qantas for more than 30 years, including as A380 captains, with a combined 37,000 hours of flying experience.

A friend of Mr Kelly, who had recently retired from Qantas, told 9NEWS he had been working on the project to rebuild the vintage aircraft for months.

“Ross is among the most experienced pilots and was well versed in this sort of aircraft operations,” Andy Hardy said.

“He has ferried vintage aircraft from the US and Europe back to Australia several time.

“Reality is, there are risks with older aircraft that are restored and looks as if the engine has let him down at a critical moment.”

The Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association Australia posted a message about the crash on its Facebook page.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Australian pilot, co-pilot and passenger who were on-board a Convair C-131D which has crashed today in South Africa,” the statement read.

“The passenger and co-pilot are said to be in a stable condition, with the pilot critically injured.

“The Convair was being prepared for a delivery flight to the Dutch city of Leystad, where it was to go on display at the Aviodrome museum.”

“We were deeply upset to learn that two Qantas pilots, one current and one retired, were on board the vintage aircraft involved in an accident in South Africa on Tuesday,” a Qantas spokesman told The Australian.

The short flight from Wonderboom Airport to Pilanesberg is believed to have been a weight test for the aircraft before it flew to its new home.

Source: https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/07/12/00/37/south-africa-pretoria-plane-crash-three-australians-involved-pilots?ocid=Social-9NewsM