At press time, an investigation into the crash was still being conducted, but eyewitnesses say there is little doubt that pilot error and overloading were the culprits. Seems the plane was simply unable to get more than a few feet off the ground before settling back to earth early in its takeoff roll. Rather than aborting the takeoff at that point, the pilot simply applied more power, nudging the craft back in the air. The eyewitness we spoke with says the plane probably gained about 100 meters in altitude before slamming back down in a grove of trees and bursting into flames. The plane was a Cherokee Six, rated for six passengers, which means it should have been able to handle the four passengers and one crew member. The problem appears to be the huge amount of gear the Germans attempted to bring out with them, plus the 100-plus degree air temperature that decreased lift under the plane's wings.
Clearly, this is an accident that could - and should - have been avoided. In our view, it should get the attention of all clients headed toward Africa, most of whom don't even consider safety when they discuss air charter arrangements with their safari company owner or booking agent. In fact, most clients seemingly care only about getting the cheapest possible charter, which may not be smart, as cheaper companies probably don't have the best pilots or equipment.........(continued)