Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith claims that the Air Rhodesia Viscount which crashed on Monday (12 February) was shot down by anti-government guerrillas.
Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith claims that the Air Rhodesia Viscount which crashed on Monday (12 February) was shot down by anti-government guerrillas. All fifty-nine passengers and crew died in the crash. Meanwhile in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, guerrilla leader Joshua Nkomo said that if the crash was caused by ground fire, his men must have been responsible. Last September, Mr. Nkomo -- the joint head of the Patriotic Front fighting for the overthrow of the Salisbury government -- claimed responsibility for shooting down another Viscount on the same route. Then forty-eight lives wore lost.
SYNOPSIS: A charred mass of metal and human remains compressed into a small ravine was all that remained of Air Rhodesia's flight RH, eight-two-seven. The wreckage of the turbo-prop Viscount airliner was still too hot on Tuesday (13 February) to be examined by civil aviation experts. but a full inquiry into the crash has already been launched. The Viscount crashed about eighty kilometres (50 miles) south of the Zambian border, about five minutes after take off on a flight from Kariba to the Rhodesian capital, Salisbury.
Aviation sources said they believed the plane had been hit by two missiles. The first struck one wing, sending the aircraft into a steep turn. The second missile hit the other wing and the Viscount plummeted to the ground.
After the plane hit the ground, it burnt furiously for eight hours. Reporters who visited the scene on Tuesday found the wreckage still smouldering.
Most of the fifty-nine people aboard were burnt so badly that identification is likely to be impossible in most cases.
Both black and white Rhodesian leaders have sworn to revenge the air crash. After last September's Viscount crash more than one and a half thousand guerrillas were reported to have been killed in Rhodesian retaliation-strikes against Patriotic Front bases. Government leaders gave no indication of what action might be planned.