Objective of the flight:

The objective of the mission was to gather photographic evidence of unlawful activities that have been undertaken on a farm in the Mooi River area. These unlawful activities resulted in a substantial fuel spill into a wetland area when the Multi-Products Pipeline was ruptured by the landowner.Report from the beneficiary:

“Due to the large area that has been impacted by the fuel spill, it was necessary to obtain aerial photographs in order to be able to present the evidence in potential prosecution proceedings. The aerial photographs taken will be used by the Environmental Management Inspectorate in putting together a docket for submission to the National Prosecution Authority and may be used in further court proceedings.

The flight provided by the Bateleurs provided an opportunity for the Environmental Management Inspectors to obtain a perspective on the activities that have been undertaken by the landowner, and place these activities in context with the surrounding landscape. The fixed wing plane provided a suitable platform for photography of the site and the activities that have been undertaken.

The Mission was successful and achieved the objectives. Photographic evidence was gathered that may be used as part of the evidence in both criminal and civil cases. In addition to the mission objectives, the flight also assisted the Environmental Management Inspectorate to identify and photograph a number of other transgressions en route to the Mooi River site, which will help the Department in undertaking these investigations.

The Department wishes to thank the Bateleurs and the pilot for making the flight available and assisting the Environmental Management Inspectorate to have the ability to more effectively enforce the environmental legislation.”

Report from the pilot:

“Today the rain Gods lifted the clouds in the Natal Midlands area long enough for me to get airborne and fly to the Mooi River area. The pipeline between Durban and Johannesburg had been accidentally ruptured on a farm approximately 8 km East of the town of Mooi River. Unfortunately a large quantity of petrol had escaped into the nearby wetlands. The purpose of the aerial survey was to see the extent of the ecological damage to the surrounding area and to document it by means of photographs.

We spent 20 minutes circling over the target area at various heights to obtain photos from different aspects and angles. Both representatives from the National Department of Environmental Affairs, Kim and Ian were very happy with the aerial vantage point that can only be achieved with the use of an aircraft.

After a flight lasting a total of one hour we returned back to home base in Pietermaritzburg, having logged up another successful Bateleur Mission.”