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Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 11:05 am

I was trying to read more about SAA 295, which mysteriously crashed in the Indian Ocean. The information from the South African Government was particularly hard to figure out:

Did they ever find out if Hazmat was on board? It looks like there was speculation about ammonium perchlorate, but was this ever confirmed?
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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:08 pm

Try thay may have what you're looking for
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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 5:53 pm

Try this link:

it includes some underwater pictures of the wreckage, too.
I heard some rumors about the aircraft having been transporting some sort of very dangerous (maybe nuclear?) materials, but it may be just a rumor.

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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:23 pm

The South African Truth-and reconciliation Commission investigated the matter, after the 1994 democratic elections.

However, to my knowledge it was never proved beyond reasonable doubt that the fire that started in the cargo area of the Helderberg, was caused by nuclear materials, so-called red mercury or other dangerous flammable goods.

The entire Margo Commission, the first investigation into the crash, was IMHO a farce. Sadly, we will most likely never know what actually happened that night when the Helderberg went down.


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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:26 pm

I was working at SAA in JNB at the time the Helderberg went down - it was pretty bad. Even back then there were all sorts of rumours about what caused the crash - they knew from the beginning it had been a main deck cargo fire, but at that point I don't think we'd automated TPE on the cargo system, so the manifest was produced manually in Taiwan and we had no computer record of what was on board. Rumours surfaced much later that it was red mercury destined for nuclear research/fabrication, being shipped in the bottom of consignments of tropical fish. Apparently the fire on board was very intense, as they found the remains of melted alloy tennis rackets from the hold, which would only have melted at a very high temperature.
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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:38 pm

I seem to recall that there were suggestions that it was carrying liquid fuel for rocket motors.
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RE: Looking For Info On South African Airways 295 Crash (1987)

Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:46 pm

The fire burnt through the FDR cables, the fire was burning above 2000 celcius then.

After the crash numerous promotions were made, station manager in Miami for one gentle, the tapes from Joburg from control where accidentally erased.

Some rumours say the pilot refused to fly and was thereatened with expulsion, but he was "Vir volk en vaderland" and the fire broke out in the beginning of the flight, they thought they had put it out. They broke the golden rule of when you catch alight you land immediately. South African government couldnt afford to have others find out what was on board. Some sya red mercury doesnt actually exist.

The Jews where shipping the arms South Africa asked for via Taiwan and the east to confuse people instead of sending them stragitht to South Africa.

A lot of unsavoury items where shipped on SAA during the 70's and 80's.

The one recorded was never retrieved, immediately after the crash the governmetn sent south african service men to mauritius and they were seen wandering all its beaches combing them to pick up pieces before any body else could.

It would be near impossible to find out what really happened, the people who knew wont talk, they would rather go to jail than talk as it would be unlike the cause they stood for, selling out to the current government.

If it had been a nuclear bomb it would have destryoed the aircraft into tiny bits a pieces.

The previous sa government snubbed internation offers to help them search the wreckage, they wouldnt let others go there, they tried to stop it.
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