Pilot met his death in valley where he had played as a youngster
Port Elizabeth pilot Rego Burger’s home-built plane crashed into the slopes of the Baakens Valley where he had so often played with his brothers while growing up, his tearful fiancee said yesterday.
Speaking ahead of Burger’s memorial service tomorrow, Johanna Smit, 54, of Lorraine, remembered the veteran aviator’s fun-loving personality and his enduring love of flying.
Known for building his own light aircraft and having cheated death in a plane crash three years ago, Burger was killed on Monday last week.
His Fish Eagle aircraft burst into flames after hitting the cliffs about 50m from The Knysna luxury apartment complex.
Together for 15 years, Smit said she still found herself waiting for Burger to walk through the door.
“Wherever he went, he left a presence,” she said.
“He was a wonderful person with a big heart.
“I called him my big little boy because he loved teasing and irritating people in a humorous way.
“Flying was his passion and for him to have died doing what he loved makes me feel a bit better about it.”
Smit said she had received tremendous support from family and friends as well as complete strangers, saying it spoke to the type of person he had been.
“Monday was like any other day. We worked from home and did some shopping,” she said...