[imagesource: YouTube / munyaweb]
Mark “Sammy” Sampson was once a captain at Cathay Pacific and a first officer at Nationwide Airlines, having started his aviation career at the age of 22 in 1990.
For some time now, the South African pilot had been retired and focused on aerobatic flying with the Cape Town-based Marksmen Aviation Team, doing what he loved most.
But that all ended in a fatal crash on Tuesday night at an airshow in Zimbabwe.
A video from the airshow captured the moment his plane climbed into the sky before losing control and tumbling to the ground.
The crash happened at Charles Prince Airport, around 16 kilometres northwest of Harare, reported The Citizen:
“It is with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that today, the Marksmen Aerobatic Team can confirm that Mark Sampson, outstanding aviator, honoured team member, trusted number-4, and loyal friend, perished in a flying incident in Harare, Zimbabwe,” the aerobatic display team said in a statement.
“The Marksmen Aerobatic Team is devastated and we are currently working with the Zimbabwean authorities,” the team added in its statement.
Mark and his team were flying in Zimbabwe after performing at the Kenyan Defense Force (KDF) Museum Airshow on Saturday and were meant to head back to Cape Town soon.
While the cause of the crash is not yet clear, reported The Sowetan, they had been wrapping up their aviation display when the accident occurred.
The loss is being felt deeply by everyone who knew the 54-year-old aviator:
Absolutely devastated to hear that my friend and aviator extraordinaire, #marksampson, from the @team_aerobatic past away in a flying incident in Harare this afternoon. We were on the phone this morning planning great things! RIP! Gonna miss flying upside with you!! pic.twitter.com/wm571I8CC2
— Nils Flaatten (@NilsFlaatten) May 31, 2022
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