Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
A South African Airways pilot was arrested yesterday after he caused a scene when he stripped to his undergarment at the Harare International Airport protesting security procedures by authorities.
South African Flight 025 with about 90 passengers aboard, was subsequently delayed by more than five hours to allow another crew from Johannesburg to fly the aircraft back to South Africa after Captain Ginkel was barred from flying in terms of aviation regulations.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr David Chawota confirmed the incident last night that left cabin crew, passengers and airport workers shocked.
The incident occurred in the morning as the cabin crew went through the screening routine at the country’s biggest international airport.
“The pilot abused himself. He simply undressed at the security checkpoint. He was arrested for public indecency. He paid a fine but in terms of aviation regulations we could not allow him to fly the aircraft anymore after that incident,” said Mr Chawota.
“The flight was supposed to leave Harare at 0720 hours but had to be delayed until 1300 hours to allow another crew from South Africa to come to Harare to fly the plane.”
Mr Chawota said in terms of aviation rules and regulations, further disciplinary measures should be taken back home by his superiors.
“We have since reported the incident to his employers, that is why they had to bring another crew. For the safety of passengers and plane we could not allow him to fly. This is international procedure that we followed,” he said.
Sources at the airport said the pilot was directed by authorities to remove his shoes after detectors had beeped.
The detectors continued beeping resulting in him being asked to remove his belt, something that did not go down well with the pilot.
The directive triggered a furious protest that saw him undressing to his undergarment.
Security officials subsequently moved in and arrested Capt Ginkel and subsequently detained him at the police post.
He was eventually fined.
“Aviation authorities raised concern on his state of mind and felt it was no longer prudent and safe to allow him to continue flying the aircraft given the fact that they were no longer sure of his sanity,” said a source.
“He had to return to Johannesburg as a passenger.’
Capt Ginkel’s background could not be established as a Google search on his name did not yield much information.