9 November 2012
Bryan Simms and his son Robert disappeared while flying over Mozambique on 28 October.
Their family believe that the missing pilots made an emergency landing in or near the Gorongosa National Park and are offering rewards to ground teams and villagers in Mozambique who may have seen or heard the aircraft and who can help searchers find the two men.
Bryan and Robert were flying a Baron 58, a light, twin-engined piston aircraft. They were ferrying the aircraft from Uganda to South Africa and were carrying no cargo.
The aircraft had been on contract to the Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies in Sudan when hostilities broke out again and work for the plane ceased. The owners decided to bring the plane back to South Africa where there was work for it. Bryan Simms was asked to fetch the plane and he took his 22 year old son, also a pilot, for the added experience of a trans-Africa flight. The plane had a full fuel tank but no other cargo when it developed engine trouble after flying over Tete in Mozambique.
The pilot reported engine trouble on Sunday morning and that he was diverting to Beira. Shortly thereafter, he reported that he would be ceasing radio contact to focus on his cockpit and was not heard from again.
The search for the pilots is being concentrated on the Gorongosa area of Mozambique. The family are most desperate to find their loved ones. Claire, Bryan’s daughter, is by her mother’s side and Stephen, the other son, has flown to Johannesburg to be by his mother’s side and help with the search-and-rescue efforts.
Bryan Simms is an experienced and popular South African pilot. Many friends and colleagues have offered to assist in the search. But the search area is remote and mountainous so local information is vital.
A joint Mozambique and South African official government search concluded without result on 3 November. The private search continues with the support of many individuals and of the management of the Gorongosa National Park.
Family and friends in South Africa, Australia, the UK and the USA are praying for the safe return of Bryan and Robert.
Gorongosa National Park is at the southern end of the Great African Rift Valley in the heart of central Mozambique. The over 4,000 square km park includes the valley floor and parts of surrounding plateaus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorongosa_National_Park).
For more information and pictures of a Baron 58 visit http://www.hawkerbeechcraft.com/beechcraft/baron_g58/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechcraft_Baron
For photos of Bryan and Robert http://www.facebook.com/BryanRobSimms
For further information and to offer leads for the search please contact:
Britt Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: issued on behalf of the Simms family. Sarah Brooker, Science in Public’s director, is Bryan’s niece and Robbie’s cousin.