Kishugu Aviation and Working on Fire (WOF) are saddened by the loss of one of their own. Nico Heyns, an aerial firefighting helicopter pilot, died while battling the fire near Vermaaklikheid in the Riversdale area in the Southern Cape on Tuesday morning, 23 October 2018.
Nico was a respected, highly dedicated pilot and long-standing friend. He was well-known for going above and beyond in the line of duty. He helped fight countless fires during Working on Fire operations, assisting in the saving of numerous lives, properties and the environment. He will be sorely missed. Management is making it a priority to supply his bereaved family with as much support as possible. No funeral arrangements have yet been made, however, this will be communicated as soon as it is available.
The cause of the accident is still unknown but the SACAA has commenced with its investigation and Kishugu Management will provide all the assistance and input required.
The Vermaaklikheid Fire is currently on day four and weather conditions are not favourable for the next few days. WOF has more than 100 wildland firefighters and management on the ground assisting the Garden Route District Municipality and the Southern Cape FPA to combat this fire.
Additional aerial resources were deployed from the northern region to assist ground teams in suppressing the various fires in the area. The extra resources provided include two AT 802 fixed-wing water bombers and a Huey helicopter as well as two Aviation Support Vehicles (ASVs/fuel bowsers. We would like to thank the Lowveld Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA), Umpiluzi PFA and Ugie for releasing these resources.
We want to commend our firefighters for bravely and selflessly continuing with their tasks in this sad time. We wish them well and continue to pray for their safety.