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I am deeply honored to place this article about a real hero in the illustrious history of the South African Airforce

Eugene Griesel wrote:"On the morning of 9 June 1976, 2nd Lieutenant Winterbottom was flying an Impala aircraft on a general exercise.


On returning to Air Force base Waterkloof and while on final approach for landing, the aircraft suffered an engine failure.

2 Lt Winterbottom was immediately faced with the situation that the runway was beyond gliding distance, there was a busy road ahead of him and he was losing height rapidly.

At that stage, he could have ejected safely but he chose to remain with his aircraft and turn to the left and away from the road, a maneuver which then set him heading for the built-up area of Monument Park.

Realizing this and although extremely low, he persisted with his left turn in a final effort to avoid damage to property and injury or death to persons on the ground.

The aircraft was then so low as to exclude a possibility of ejection and it hit the ground just as it cleared the built-up area. 2nd Lieutenant Winterbottom was killed instantly.

There can be no remnant of doubt that he sacrificed his own life in his courageous effort to ensure that his crippled aircraft would cause no harm to persons or damage to property on the ground.

Lieutenant Kevin Roy Winterbottom was posthumously awarded the H.C. (Honoris Crux) medal for valor.



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