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Sasa Klaas’s mother questions pilot

Was it safe to take off in a helicopter at 6pm?

That was the question that Annah Mokgethi, the grieving mother of the late Hip-Hop artist, Sasa Klass – born Sarona Mokgethi – wanted the pilot of the helicopter that crashed and killed her daughter to answer at an inquest that started in Molepolole on Wednesday.

In March last year, the 27-year-old queen of Hip-Hop died in a fatal helicopter crash at a rich businessman’s farm in Sojwe in the Kweneng District.

This week, her mother, who is also the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, appeared in court and cross-examined Leonard Matenje, the businessman and pilot who was in the cockpit when the fatal accident occurred.

Detailing the happenings of the fateful night – Matenje, who had remained mum and turned down interview requests before he finally broke his silence in court – started by defining the relationship between him and Sasa Klaas as a friendship that had started barely a year before she met her death with him in his helicopter.

According to Matenje, just as friends would, he and Sasa Klass would occasionally meet for lunch dates and, on the day in question, she had expressed interest in travelling with him to his game farm in Xumabee.

“She left her car at my workplace and we proceeded to Rasesa where my helicopter was parked. We left around 6pm. It was just the two of us and our intention was to return on Sunday morning,” Matenje told the court.

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Answering Sasa Klass’s mother’s question about the safety of a night flight, Matenje said, “It was sunset but there was still enough light to see, so it was safe. As we arrived at the farm after flying for 3.5 kilometres above the fence, there was a sudden swift of the aircraft. My immediate response was to flare the aircraft, bringing down the power and slow down the speed.”

He went on to explain that, “Possibly, the tail was caught up in the fence, it was so quick. The helicopter rolled and we faced the direction we came from.”

He said that after the crash he managed to get himself out of the helicopter and spotted Sasa Klaas a few metres from the aircraft and a quick inspection revealed to him that she had sustained injuries, a broken left limb and a bruise on top of the shoulder.

The 46-year-old pilot further told the court that farm workers lifted Sasa Klaas into a Toyota Land Cruiser and headed for the hospital.

Her last words words to Matenje were: “I want a bottle of water, a pillow and please take off my shoes,” he revealed.

Visibly distraught, Sasa Klaas’ mother further asked the pilot why he did not call the emergency number on the spot, to which he responded by explaining that his satellite phone did not call free numbers.

Meanwhile, one of the farm workers who gave evidence stated that Sasa Klaas had bruises on her body and had suffered a broken leg with a bone visible.

“We loaded her inside the vehicle. as it was cold, we went to the farm and took another blanket. Her upper body was functioning when I gave her water; she assisted herself to handle it. On the way, she kept on screaming in pain and asked me to cover her with a blanket because she was feeling cold, until she eventually went quiet.”

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“I then shined a torch on her and realised she was dead,” said the witness.

Sasa Klass was certified dead upon arrival at the hospital.

The state is expected to call 14 witnesses and so far only three have taken the stand.

The case continues.

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