“In a time of great sorrow for the family of Justin van As, as well as for the firefighting community, I salute Justin’s bravery and dedication to his work.”
This is what the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, said on Friday after the death of Justin van As (49), a pilot of Kishugu Aviation who died in a plane crash during a firefighting operation near Ngodwana in Mpumalanga on Wednesday afternoon.
“I want to pay tribute and show respect to a true firefighting hero who was forever committed to saving lives and protecting our environment,” says the minister.
RNews earlier reported that the Air Tractor 802 fixed-wing aircraft took off from Nelspruit Airport for an aerial fire-fighting operation at a Sappi plantation. However, Van As never returned.
According to the minister, Van As was born in Klerksdorp and joined Kishugu Aviation as a pilot in May 2019. He was an avid reader, especially about historical events, loved research and philosophizing about what he read.
Read more about this story at R News South Africa