Passed away date: 24 Jan 2018
Details of passing: Tragically passed away in a Savannah Aircraft accident near the runway at Browns Landing, Morgan's Bay, East London.
John, who was the owner of Savannah Africa, the agent for the Italian kit aircraft "Savannah" was test flying a new factory built aircraft when the accident occured. After not returning back to his private airfield in the afternoon, a massive search and rescue effort was launched and the wreckage eventually discovered on Friday, 26th January 2018
Tribute from Border Aviation Club:
It is with deep sadness and respect that Border Aviation Club confirms the passing of a long time club member and highly respected member of the community, John Waterson and his assistant Gerald Murahwi. John and Gerald were involved in a fatal aircraft accident near the Browns Landing airfield Morgan’s bay. A massive search effort by the local community was launched after the aircraft did not return from a flight as planned on Wednesday evening. The search effort was managed and coordinated by ARCC. (aeronautical rescue coordination centre). The search, conducted by land, air and sea, included South African Police, Department of health EMS, NSRI and an unbelievable number of volunteers from the local community. It is with overwhelming humility and gratitude that we acknowledge each and every individual that took part in this operation. From driving rural farm tracks in the middle of the night to flying personal aircraft in a grid pattern searching. Ultimately it was a volunteer ground hiking party that discovered the scene, obscured from view by bush and trees. The sense of belonging to a community that will respond this way, without question, when others are in need is unarguably a huge comfort.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Waterson and Murahwi families at this difficult time.
To John: you were a friend, mentor and outstanding gentleman. You have made a positive contribution to life as a whole and to aviation in particular. Godspeed friend.