A Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) plane, which went missing in the Zambezi Valley on Friday afternoon, was found crashed in Chewore Safari Area in Mbire on Sunday afternoon with one dead and two critically injured people in the wreckage.
A fourth person who was on the four-seat Cessna 182 light aircraft, is still missing and a 25-man search party has been combing up the area to locate him.
The deceased was a South African researcher who was conducting a game survey with a compatriot and two Zimbabweans, including the pilot.
Rescuers found the pilot and the other South African researcher badly injured, about 48 hours after the plane disappeared from the radar.
The search for the missing passenger is being jointly carried out by Zimbabwean and Zambian authorities using four planes and sniffer dogs.
ZimParks spokesperson Mr Tinashe Farawo yesterday confirmed the discovery of the wreckage, saying the injured were taken to Kariba Hospital.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is still carrying out investigations into the cause of the crash.
“The plane was found crashed in Chewore, mid-Zambezi. It is not yet clear what caused the crash and investigations are still in progress. Authorities recovered the body of a South African national while two people were found badly injured. They were in such a bad state they could not call for help.
“We have engaged authorities in Zambia to help in the search for the fourth person who remains missing,” said Mr Farawo.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The ZRP is investigating the circumstances in which a four-seater airplane crashed at Chewore North Safari Area, Chirundu, killing one person whilst two others survived and is missing. Police and other relevant stakeholders are currently searching for the missing person.”
The identities of the people involved in the crash have not been disclosed pending the notification of all their families.
The Cessna 182 is an American four-seat, single-engined light utility airplane built by Cessna of Wichita, Kansas.
It has a luggage compartment and the option of adding two child seats, installed in the baggage area.
First introduced in 1956, the 182 has been produced in a number of variants, including a version with retractable landing gear.
It is known to be very reliable and is the second most popular Cessna model still in production, after the 172.