Objective of the flight:
To identify sand mining sites along the uMgeni and uMlazi Rivers and to determine the associated impacts in terms of water quality and vegetation loss.
Report from the pilot:
“In Kwa-Zulu-Natal it is not very often that you can say that the weather is absolutely perfect, but Saturday the 6th of April was one such day. I met my two passengers, Manogrie and Sathian Chetty, at Pietermaritzburg airport and completed the formalities of indemnities before lining up on runway 16 for take-off in perfect weather.
Monagrie is doing a study on legal and illegal river sand mining along the Umlazi and Umgeni Rivers so my brief was to fly along the course of the Umlazi River until it meets the sea in the vicinity of the old Durban Airport. Then to head across Durban to just above the mouth of the Umgeni River in Durban north and follow the river up-stream back to Pietermaritzburg.
Before getting airborne Manogrie said she would be more than satisfied if she located five mining sites on each river. We far exceeded that and I found myself kept busy circling another site every few miles especially where the river winds itself through informal settlements. In all we noted and took GPS positions on 19 sites on both rivers.
This was yet another successful Bateleur mission flown.”