A presidential helicopter carrying the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi made an emergency landing at Francistown airport after fire caught its engines.
According to the office of the President and the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), the helicopter attached to the BDF was taxing upon arrival from Mathangwane at 1730hrs, when due to an engine fire made a precautionary landing.
The incident happened over the weekend.
“While taxying for landing at Francistown Airport the pilots reported an engine fire indication were upon they promptly executed an engine shut down and landing on runway 13 at the airport,” a statement from the presidency reads in part.
The president, together with his team and cabin crew were evacuated safely.
“The emergency response at Francistown Airport also responded to provide assistance with fire retardant foam. All five passengers and the three aircrew members are safe and without injuries.”
“The BDF wishes to assure the nation that all required maintenance and safety procedures are taken to assure the safe passage of His Excellency the President as well as any other principles in their care.”
Following the incident, Botswana’s president ordered an investigation to determine the cause of the engine fire, the actions of the aircrews and all other circumstances surrounding this incident.
However, Botswana’s opposition has likened the scenario to a stunt by the president who is forcing a torrid time ahead of the October 9 general elections.
“This could be his stunt, he wants sympathy votes because he is out of favor,” an opposition source told Nile Post.