Alleged cause of Helderberg plane exposed

Former SAA consultant Allan Dexter claimes the plane was carrying rocket fuel and ammunition.

FILE: Former SAA consultant Allan Dexter claims the plane was carrying rocket fuel and ammunition.

JOHANNESBURG - The fate of the doomed Helderberg plane has once again made news headlines, with an Australian man in the final stages of cancer signing an affidavit on what he says was the cause of the crash.

The Sunday Times is reporting that former South African Airways (SAA) consultant Allan Dexter has claimed that the plane was carrying rocket fuel and ammunition.

Dexter worked as a public relations consultant for SAA from 1968 to 1987.

The Helderberg crashed into the sea off Mauritius in 1987, killing all 159 passengers and crew.

The Sunday Times says Dexter was phoned by an SAA official in Taiwan, who explained that the plane exploded due to the rocket fuel and ammunition which was being transported in violation of sanctions at the time.

He says this was later confirmed by another top official as being top secret.

Dexter says captain Dawie Uys did not want to fly the plane because this would put the passengers' lives at risk.

But Uys was told by then then SAA Chief Executive Officer Gert van der Veer that the cargo was none of his business and he would be fired if he failed to fly.

The Margo Commission investigated the disaster but was unable to determine the cause of a fire on board.

Watch a video on the 25 year anniversary of the crash.