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Man who tried to kill wife with plane in Botswana identified as South African

It is understood that the man had had a physical altercation with his wife at a baby shower held at the airstrip before he was chased away. He allegedly stole the aircraft and crashed it into the party venue.

South African pilot Charl Viljoen on 23 March 2019 allegedly took his life by flying a twin-engine aircraft into a building in Botswana in attempt to kill his wife. Picture: Facebook/Aerospaceafricatv

PRETORIA - The pilot who took his life by flying a twin-engine aircraft into a building in Botswana in an attempt to kill his wife has been identified as South African, Charl Viljoen.

About 50 people narrowly escaped death on Saturday at the Matsieng Airfield a few kilometres north of the country's capital Gaborone.

It is understood that the man had had a physical altercation with his wife at a baby shower held at the airstrip before he was chased away.

He allegedly stole the aircraft and crashed it into the party venue.

Viljoen started work at Botswana-based Kalahari Air Services in October last year.

In a statement, the Matsieng Flying Club said an uninvited guest at a party, who was identified as Viljoen, got into a domestic dispute before leaving the venue.

Minutes later, a King Air twin-engine aircraft allegedly stolen by Viljoen started making several low passes.

A man said that the pilot called his friend who was at the venue.

“He phoned his one mate on the ground there who was still at the party and he wanted to know where his wife was. The guy that he called started shouting so that everybody could run away. And then he flew into the Matsieng clubhouse.”

Viljoen was the only casualty, while the clubhouse, control tower, and about 13 vehicles were destroyed.

The police and Botswana aviation officials were investigating the incident.

If this article has raised issues for you or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call the South African Depression and Anxiety Group’s Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567.

Or you can call the gender-based violence hotline on 0800 428 428 or SMS 'Help' to 31531.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)