Rotorcraft Update: South African shootout

Aviation International News » August 2003
August 5, 2008, 6:58 AM

It’s a story right out of the Wild West. A helicopter delivering cash to the Kendal power station near Ogies in South Africa in June was robbed of one million South African rand (roughly $130,000) in a Western-style shootout, according to police. In a statement filed by local law-enforcement officials, a helicopter landed at the power station to deliver seven bags of cash. While it was on the premises, a white BMW and a maroon Mercedes-Benz drove up to the station’s security gate. Two men got out of the BMW and held the gate security staff at gunpoint, while the rest of the attackers passed through the gate and stopped next to the helicopter. They overpowered a security official who was guarding the helicopter with an AK47, and forced the female pilot out of her seat. The thieves then loaded six of the seven bags of cash into the car and fired 13 shots into the fuselage of the helicopter (described as a Bell JetRanger), disabling it. They then escaped from the scene. Police fired on the getaway cars, disabling the BMW, which was abandoned, with the rest of the thieves and their booty crowding into the Mercedes and vanishing. The pilot was not injured. It was not known why the robbers left the seventh moneybag behind, police said.

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