Johannesburg: An Indian billionaire and his son were among the six individuals killed when their private plane crashed near a diamond mine in southwestern Zimbabwe after experiencing a technical fault, according to media reports.
Harpal Randhawa, the owner of RioZim, a diversified mining company producing gold and coal as well as refining nickel and copper, along with his son and four others was killed when the plane crashed in the Zvamahande area of Mashava, iHarare, a news and media website in Zimbabwe, reported.
The Cessna 206 aircraft, owned by RioZim, was en route from Harare to the Murowa diamond mine when the tragic incident occurred on Friday.
The single-engined aircraft crashed near the Murowa Diamonds mine, which is partly owned by RioZim.
The plane experienced a technical fault, possibly resulting in a mid-air explosion, before plummeting into Peter Farm in the Zvamahande region.
All passengers and crew onboard lost their lives in this accident, the report said.
The Herald, a state-owned daily newspaper, quoted police as saying four of the victims were foreigners and the other two Zimbabweans.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police reports a plane crash which occurred on September 29 between 7.30 am and 8 am, where six people are confirmed dead,” police said.
“The Murowa Diamond Company (RioZim)-owned white and red Zcam aircraft had left Harare for the mine at 6 am and crashed about 6km from Mashava.”
RioZim confirmed the crash and said it was working with relevant authorities to gather more information.
Names of the deceased are yet to be released by police but journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chinono, who was a friend of Randhawa, confirmed his death.
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Harpal Randhawa, the owner of RioZim who died today in a plane crash in Zvishavane. Five other people including his son, who was also a pilot but a passenger on this flight, also died in the crash,” wrote Chinono on X.
“My thoughts are with his wife, family, friends and the RioZim community.”
The RioZim company secretary said a full statement will be issued.
“I am not in a position to address the media right now. We will however be issuing a statement as soon as possible,” he said.
Randhawa was the founder of the USD 4 billion private equity firm GEM Holdings.
Meanwhile, the local community and law enforcement agencies are working together to manage the aftermath of the plane crash.