MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Mossel Bay local Bertus Koen is excited at finding a piece of debris, which he thinks might be from an aircraft wreck, at Dias Beach.
Bertus, a retired businessman, was walking on the beach on Sunday 23 June, when he found the rectangular, rubbery piece of material which looks like insulation. It is blackened, as if it was burnt by fire.
Bertus had a five-year stint in the air force and was an air traffic controller at Waterkloof, 16 Squadron in Port Elizabeth and at Silvermine in Simonstown.
He thinks the piece of insulation, which he surmises is a composite of fibreglass and asbestos, was once around an aircraft engine.
Rubber is used to keep the layers of asbestos and fibreglass together, Bertus says.
However, Karl Jensen, an aircraft accident fundi in South Africa, says he doubts the rectangular piece is aircraft insulation.
Karl retired from SAA 16 years ago after a flying career more than three decades long. He runs the Experimental Aircraft Association in Johannesburg, of which he is also the chairman and he is often consulted for his opinion and known as an expert on aviation safety and aircraft crashes.
Karl said after being sent photographs of the piece of insulation: "I don't know of any part of an aircraft engine that has insulation of that magnitude." Karl surmised the insulation could come from a ship and may have been around a hydraulic pump. He said it could also have come from a ship smokestack.
He said this type of insulation was used for a number of purposes on different types of craft, but he doubted it was from an aircraft. Karl enlarged the photographs sent to him and then confirmed: "I believe it is insulation of an exhaust pipe or similar heat-carrying duct and not from an aircraft. There is no place on any airliner I am aware of that has insulation as bulky as that."
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