Plane inspector not arrested2010-02-12 21:00
Johannesburg - The Civil Aviation Authority on Friday denied reports that one of its inspectors was arrested in Sudan after breaking the door of former president
Thabo Mbeki's plane.
SACAA spokesperson Kabelo Ledwaba said: "Contrary to other reports, the inspector was not arrested.
"He interacted with Sudanese Authorities and provided a brief statement to the Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority detailing what had transpired."
The Star and Beeld reported on Friday that the inspector had been arrested following the incident on Tuesday.
The man had been doing maintenance inspections on South African planes operating in Sudan, unknowingly took a look at an aircraft being used by Mbeki and broke its door.
He boarded Mbeki's parked aircraft while no crew members were present.
"An inspector would not normally enter an aircraft of this sort [an air force-chartered plane] without the crew being present, but because he had no idea if it would still be there the following morning, he went ahead with the inspection."
When he finished he tried unsuccessfully to close the door and phoned crew members who tried to help. He followed their instructions, but the door broke. He then waited two hours for crew members to arrive at the scene.
"As such, there was no breach of security. The inspector was not arrested," Ledwaba said.
He gave a statement to Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority and provided it with the details of the incident. The Commissioner for Civil Aviation was informed about the matter by the aircraft's owner. A relief aircraft had since been sent to Sudan.
The inspector was back in the country and would submit a report about the incident to the SACAA.