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Plane crash investigated

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On October 19, 1986 Samora Machel was on his way back from an international meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, in the presidential Tupolev Tu-134 aircraft, when the plane crashed in the Lebombo Mountains, near Mbuzini, South-Africa. There were ten survivors, but President Machel and 33 others died, including ministers and officials of the Mozambique government. The Margo Commission, set up by the South African government, but which included high-level international representation, investigated the incident and concluded that the accident was caused by pilot error. Despite the acceptance of its findings by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the report was rejected by the Mozambican and Soviet governments. The latter submitted a minority report suggesting that the aircraft was intentionally lured off course by a decoy radio navigation beacon set up specifically for this purpose by the South Africans. Speculation about the accident has therefore continued to the present day, particularly in Mozambique. TRC investigation Following the demise of the apartheid regime in 1994, the newly elected democratic government opened new probes into the death of the former Mozambican president, Samora Machel. The TRC, which was instituted in 1996 under the chairmanship of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was tasked to contribute to the investigations. Click here for more. Inquiries into the crash South Africa’s reaction to the crash was very slow and suspicious. The South African officials relayed false information to the Mozambican authorities. Click here for more.

The Soviet Report The Soviet Union disagreed with the Margo Commission and issued its own report. It accused South African government of undermining its expertise and experience. The Soviet report focused on the 37 degrees’ right turn that led the plane into the hills of Mbuzini. Click here for more. The Mozambique Medical Commission Mozambique conducted its own medical investigations on victims of the crash. The investigations revealed that unknown people interfered with six bodies people who died during the crash. Click here for more.

– By SA History online

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