Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Britons die in Botswana plane crash

Two Britons have been killed in a light aircraft crash in Botswana

A British pilot and passenger were among eight people killed when their plane crashed shortly after take-off in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Martin Gresswell had been flying the group from a remote airfield to an exclusive safari lodge set on an island in the heart of the delta region when the Cessna 208 burst into flames.

Employed by Moremi Air as its general manager of air operations, Mr Gresswell was described by the company as its most experienced pilot with more than 12,000 hours of flying.

According to a profile on professional networking site LinkedIn, he served with the British Army's Intelligence Corps, had worked as a pilot for the UN in Somalia and Sudan and as a consultant at Barclays Bank.

A Facebook page details his address as Maun in Botswana, and lists him as coming from Hull.

Mr Gresswell died alongside another British national who had been living in Switzerland. The other tourists killed were from France and Sweden.

Four more passengers - two from France and two from Botswana - survived Friday's crash which happened close to Xakanaka Airfield. The group had been bound for Pom Pom island, a site famous for its birds and wildlife.

A probe has been launched into the crash, Botswana's Civil Aviation Authority confirmed.

Sue Smart, chief executive of operator Moremi Air, said the company had chosen to ground its fleet while the investigation was under way. "We are lost for words, for condolence for the families of the deceased and the pilot's family," she said.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the British victims' relatives had been informed.

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