Zimbabwe’s First Female Fighter Pilot Annita Mapiye Dies in Helicopter Crash

Zimbabwe’s first female helicopter fighter pilot has died in a fiery helicopter crash in Arcturus, 32km east of Harare.

Thirty-year-old Flight Lieutenant Annita Mapiye, who has flown President Emmerson Mnangagwa, died alongside another pilot, a wing commander, and a technician in s Bell 412 crash. It crashed into a house in the Hukuru neighbourhood killing a child, and injuring a young girl and her mother who are now admitted at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.

Pilot Annita Mapiye emerged fifth best in training

Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Elson Moyo has released a statement offering his condolences and adding that the names of the deceased would be announced soon as their relatives have been notified. 

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The Air Force said a search and rescue effort was embarked on soon as the crew, who took off from Manyame Air Force Base on a general handling training sortie over Seke and Domboshava lost contact.

Air Marshal Moyo said an air accident investigation would begin immediately to establish the cause of the crash.

Remains of the crashed Airforce Bell 412

Mapiye who joined the Air Force in 2012 at the age of 21 and only recently had a baby said in a 2019 interview:

“The road to where I am today was not a walk in the park. We were training with men, carrying out the same duties with them, and we were expected to perform equally.”

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“That’s when I told myself that I can do what men can do, and that became my everyday motto, and the motto kept me going.”

Out of 46 trainees, Mapiye emerged fifth best in the basic military training but would not fly until 2015 when she sat in the cockpit of a Genet SF260 Fixed Wing.

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