DNA Tests Expose Identities of Plane Crash Victims
7 October 2023
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ZVEMAHANDE, Zimbabwe – DNA tests and forensic examinations have successfully confirmed the identities of the six individuals who tragically lost their lives in a light aircraft crash that occurred last Friday in the Zvemahande area, approximately 6 kilometers northwest of Mashava.

The remains of the victims have been released for burial or cremation, marking a significant step in this heart-wrenching incident.

The victims have been identified as:

1. **Harpla Singh Randhawa (60)** – An Indian billionaire associated with Murowa Diamonds.
2. **Amer Singh Randhawa** – Son of Harpla Singh Randhawa.
3. **George Sibanda (51)** – Affiliated with Murowa Diamonds.
4. **Nikhil Mahadik Milind** – Connected to Murowa Diamonds.
5. **Reginald Muchemwa (38)** – The pilot of the ill-fated aircraft.
6. **Pichumoney Viswanath (58)** – Believed to be a visitor from RioZim Limited.

The remains of the four foreign nationals have already been cremated, while George Sibanda will be laid to rest in South Africa, where his family resides, and Reginald Muchemwa will be buried in Zimbabwe.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi confirmed the identities and stated, “The forensic analysis examination process is now complete, and we are now waiting for the necessary documentation processes for the families to access the remains.”

Meanwhile, investigations are still ongoing to determine the cause and contributing factors behind the tragic accident that took place last Friday. The ill-fated Cessna plane, owned by Rio Zimbabwe Company, crashed at Peter Farm in the Zvamahande area of Mashava during its flight from Harare to Zvishavane. It is suspected that the aircraft developed technical issues before the fatal crash, claiming the lives of all passengers and crew on board.

The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development noted that the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport flight information center lost contact with the Zimbabwean registered Cessna C206 aircraft (registration Z-CAM) shortly after takeoff. The aircraft, which departed from RGM International Airport at 6:30 AM local time, was headed for Murowa near Zvishavane. Tragically, the last contact with the plane was at 7:03 AM local time.

The Ministry’s air accidents and serious incidents investigation department is diligently conducting investigations to uncover the cause and contributing factors behind the accident, with the aim of drawing conclusions and proposing safety recommendations to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Felix Mhona, expressed heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the passengers and the pilot who lost their lives in this devastating aircraft crash.

This incident follows a previous aviation mishap in February, where five people were injured when a light plane owned by mining giant Murowa (Private) Limited force-landed near Beatrice while transporting diamonds under armed guard by police and private security officials.- state media