Tanzanian pilot Samuel Gibuyi, plane go missing in Selous Game Reserve

Tanzanian pilot Samuel Gibuyi.

Tanzanian pilot Samuel Gibuyi. 

Photo credit: Pool

The whereabouts of a Tanzanian pilot who went missing during a mission to Selous Game Reserve remains unknown.

Mr Samuel Gibuyi of the conservation organisation Pams Foundation went missing on October 18, 2021, when flying his plane from Matemanga Village in Ruvuma to Selous Game Reserve in search of black rhinos, failed to arrive as expected and the plane went missing from the control radars.

Search and rescue efforts were launched immediately with no success, the organisation said.

The 31-year old pilot was set to join his workmate in the Selous and conduct an aerial surveillance, but his plane failed to arrive at its destination.

Pams project manager Max Jenes told The Citizen on Saturday that the captain of aircraft - named ‘Bathawk Flight Number 5H-WXO - started his normal work mission at around noon, and was expected to arrive at 5pm - which did not happen.

According to the manager, they became suspicious at 5:30pm that something had gone wrong when the pilot did not notify them that he had reached the destination safely.

 “We contacted his colleagues who were to meet him in the Selous. However, they confirmed that he had not arrived,” he said.

 Special tool

Mr Jenes said since the pilot’s disappearance, they have tried to trace the aircraft using a special tool, ‘Spidertracks,’ but the tracking has not been successful either.

 “As I speak with you right now, experts are searching for him physically and we still really don’t know what happened,” he said.

Spidertracks is an instrument that enables real-time flight tracking, automated flight watch, two-way communication, and flight data monitoring (FDM) for an aircraft.

Mr Jenes stressed that they were making efforts to trace him.  

Rescue efforts

 “Soon after his disappearance, the search and rescue efforts were launched and have been ongoing. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to our partners in government, as well as our many friends - individuals, organisations and local communities - for the incredible support we have been receiving in the ongoing search for Samwel,” he said

“Since 2014 when Gibuyi joined their organisation (Pams Foundation), he has had much contribution to the company. He is an intelligent, hardworking, sharp young man,” Mr Jenes said.

 Mr Gibuyi pursued a Private Pilot (PPL) Course in the country and later in South Africa. PPCL is the first course taken by new student pilots. Epic values the importance of a strong foundation. He also holds a bachelor degree in wildlife management.

Earlier Tunduru District Commissioner Mr Julius Mtatiro confirmed that efforts to search for the pilot were still going on.

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