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Schoolgirl pilot dies when she crashes with small planes in South Africa the day before her 17th birthday

Schoolgirl pilot dies when she crashes small aircraft the day before her 17th birthday and a few days after posing with her proud parents after a first solo flight in South Africa

  • Anika de Beer had flown solo a few days before the tragic crash
  • Presumably, Piper Cherokee 28A-180 stalled on its approach to landing
  • The schoolgirl died at Wonderboom Airport the day before her 17th birthday

Tragic schoolgirl Anika de Beer proudly posed with her parents after flying solo for the first time – but a few days later she died in the burning wreckage when she crashed the same plane.

Delighted mother Rika and father Andries had offered their sixteen-year-old daughter the traditional bottle of bubbles for her first lonely flight, for which she was too young to drink.

But a few days later and on the eve of her 17th birthday, she stepped behind the flight controls of the Piper Cherokee 28A-180 to practice solo landings and circuits at her local airport.

Delighted mother Rika and father Andries had just given Anika de Beer the traditional bottle of bubbles for her first lonely flight, which she was too young to drink

Delighted mother Rika and father Andries had just given Anika de Beer the traditional bottle of bubbles for her first lonely flight, which she was too young to drink

On the eve of her 17th birthday, she stepped behind the flight controls of the Piper Cherokee 28A-180 to practice solo landings and circuits at her local airport.  Depicted, burnt-out wreck

On the eve of her 17th birthday, she stepped behind the flight controls of the Piper Cherokee 28A-180 to practice solo landings and circuits at her local airport.  Depicted, burnt-out wreck

On the eve of her 17th birthday, she stepped behind the flight controls of the Piper Cherokee 28A-180 to practice solo landings and circuits at her local airport. Depicted, burnt-out wreck

Anika’s distraught parents said her funeral would be held tomorrow instead of her 17th birthday party, adding, “Our hearts were shattered – she was everything to us. We are lost’

The talented pilot is said to have lost control and stalled as she prepared to land at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria, South Africa, crashing away from the runway at high speed.

Her distraught parents now had to cancel her birthday party for tomorrow and instead invite her sad friends to attend her funeral instead of the celebration.

Another pilot who had just landed saw the plume of smoke rising from the flames of the crashed plane and sent it to the control tower after radio contact with Anika was lost.

The talented pilot is said to have lost control and stalled as she prepared to land at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria, South Africa.  She crashed away from the runway at high speed.  In the photo, firefighters extinguish the fire

The talented pilot is said to have lost control and stalled as she prepared to land at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria, South Africa.  She crashed away from the runway at high speed.  In the photo, firefighters extinguish the fire

The talented pilot is said to have lost control and stalled as she prepared to land at Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria, South Africa. She crashed away from the runway at high speed. In the photo, firefighters extinguish the fire

Anika had completed a little over 24 hours of training and would complete her Private Pilot's License after turning 17 tomorrow.  She set her sights on flying passenger planes for South African Airways

Anika had completed a little over 24 hours of training and would complete her Private Pilot's License after turning 17 tomorrow.  She set her sights on flying passenger planes for South African Airways

Anika had completed a little over 24 hours of training and would complete her Private Pilot’s License after turning 17 tomorrow. She set her sights on flying passenger planes for South African Airways

The airport fire brigade was quickly on site along with ambulances, but was unable to do anything for the teenage pilot whose charred body was found in the burned-out Piper Cherokee.

A senior local pilot said, “I don’t feel like anticipating the accident report, but the wreck shows that it was a high-speed impact and I suspect the plane stalled as it approached a corner.

“Anika should never be allowed to fly solo by her instructor unless he was 100 percent sure she was ready and when she made her first solo flight a few days before not setting foot wrong.

“Unless there was a structural or engine failure, we may never know what happened up there, but her loss has hit everyone in our community at Wonderboom Airfrield extremely hard,” he said.

Anika had undergone just over 24 hours of training and would complete her Private Pilot’s License after turning 17 tomorrow and focusing on flying passenger planes for South African Airways.

The airport fire brigade was quickly on site along with ambulances, but could do nothing for the teenage pilot whose charred body was found in the burned-out Piper Cherokee

The airport fire brigade was quickly on site along with ambulances, but could do nothing for the teenage pilot whose charred body was found in the burned-out Piper Cherokee

The airport fire brigade was quickly on site along with ambulances, but could do nothing for the teenage pilot whose charred body was found in the burned-out Piper Cherokee

Tearful mother Rika from Pretoria said, “Anika was the joy of our lives and our little red-haired pilot. Her ambition was to travel and see the whole world as a commercial pilot flying a Boeing.

“There is a map of the world in her bedroom on the wall, and she said that on that day she would soon know every corner of the earth. Flying was her passion and her biggest dream ‘.

Anika’s distraught parents said her funeral would be held tomorrow instead of her 17th birthday party, adding, “Our hearts are shattered – she was everything to us. We are lost’.

She was a member of the Professional Flight Center at Wonderboom Airport and center advisor Karel Ehmke confirmed that Anika had taken off to do solo tracks and landing flight training.

Charles said, “She was a brilliant pilot and died doing what she loved most – being a pilot.”

She had only 24 hours of flight training under her belt and flew on her second solo flight.  Pictured, the Piper Cherokee 28A-180

She had only 24 hours of flight training under her belt and flew on her second solo flight.  Pictured, the Piper Cherokee 28A-180

She had only 24 hours of flight training under her belt and flew on her second solo flight. Pictured, the Piper Cherokee 28A-180

Under South African Air Law, a student pilot can learn to fly at 3pm and fly solo at 4pm, but he cannot apply to get his Private Pilot’s License until he is 17, which Anika intended to do.

She had only 24 hours of flight training under her belt and flew on her second solo flight.

Flight center owner Andre le Roux said he could comment further while an investigation is underway into the young pilot’s death, but added, “We’ve all been traumatized by it.”

Tswane emergency services have declared the schoolgirl dead on the spot and the Accidents and Incident Investigation Department has been called in to produce a report on the tragedy.

The flying club Anika was a member of said on her Facebook site: ‘You will always be part of our family and we will never forget your smile that lit up the room when you entered.

“May you spread your wings and fly high with the angels in heaven.”

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