At least eight people have lost their lives and another is feared dead following a plane crash in the ocean off South Africa's southern coast. The aircraft, a single engine Pilatus PC-12, was on its way from the Eastern Cape town of Queenstown to the city of Plettenberg when it disappeared off the radar on Tuesday around 17:00 GMT, AFP reported Wednesday.
The incident took place while the plane was trying to land near the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay in bad conditions and heavy fog, the National Sea Rescue Institute reported.
On board the flight were six senior managers and the chief executive officer of a leading South African tile company called Italtile, plus two crew members.
The cause of the crash is not known yet.
A search and rescue operation launched soon after the aircraft's disappearance recovered eight bodies among the debris scattered along the shore, five nautical miles (12 km) out to the sea.
While multiple sources confirmed there were no survivors at the scene, Acting Director of Civil Aviation Zakhele Thwala remained optimistic.
“We will thoroughly apply our minds so that we can close this investigation as soon as possible. We would also like to acknowledge the role played by the rescue team and encourage them to keep on searching for possible survivors,” he said -PT.