Zimbabwe authorities ground cargo plane after body was discovered on board

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Zimbabwean authorities impounded a cargo aircraft carrying a consignment for the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) after a body was discovered on board.

“The police are now handling the issue and the plane, which is owned by Western Global Airlines, has been grounded at Harare International Airport since Sunday,” Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe CEO David Chawota said.

South Africa’s diplomat, Vusi Mavimbela exonerated the plane crew and two SARB employees who were on board.

“This was a stowaway who got into the plane and hid in the cargo,” Mr Mavimbela said.

He, however, could not shed light on the issue for security reasons.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe CEO, David Chawota, said investigations into the matter were ongoing.

“The police are now handling the issue and the plane, which is owned by Western Global Airlines, has been grounded at Harare International Airport since February 14, 2016,” he said.

He confirmed that the cargo in the plane belonged to South African Reserve Bank.

The plane, en route to South Africa from Germany, landed at Harare after requesting permission to refuel when the body was discovered. This was after a similar request was rejected by Mozambique. Western Global Airlines is based in Florida, US.

In 2004, Zimbabwean authorities impounded a plane with 64 mercenaries who were going to take part in a coup in Equatorial Guinea. The group, led by Simon Mann, spent five years in a Harare prison after the botched coup.

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