It is with very heavy hearts that we must share terrible news with you.
As many of you know, Frank and Dorise have been on a wonderful and exciting plane trip through South America for the last 6 weeks. At the end of their journey, Dorise flew back to Capetown commercially. Frank started his journey home leaving Natal, Brazil, in his Piper Seneca ‘Gommi’ at 3am local time on Friday, February 16th 2007 to cross the Atlantic and return back to the African mainland.
It was his last journey.
Friends (& fellow pilots) based in Brazil and the local medical team were able to tell us the following sequence of events (as known so far):
Frank radios the tower of Fernando de Noronha (Island off the coast of Brazil) that the right engine has failed. He receives permission to land and is expected at about 08:30.
His plane’s signal disappears from the radar
A signal is picked up from the emergency beacon located within the life raft. Immediately two search and rescue aircrafts are dispatched and boats sent out.
The pilots spot the life raft approximately 60 miles/80km off the coast and fly over at low altitude (100 feet/35 metres); they do not see any sign of life.
The rescue boats arrive and find Frank lifeless in the raft.
He had everything essential with him – his GPS, water purification equipment, food and important papers. He was 150% prepared! Unfortunately he sustained severe internal injuries and perished hours before the boats arrived.
Our friends in Brazil and the local team have looked after Frank – and after us – in a wonderful way. Frank was transferred from Recife to Salvador, where Bianca, Malaika, Claudia and Robin joined him on 26th February and brought him home to Dorise in South Africa. We found a wonderful final resting place for Frank on 28th February with marvellous views over False Bay and Table Mountain.
We will hold a memorial celebration on Saturday, March 3rd at 11:00 to celebrate Frank’s life at the Stellenbosch Aeroclub near Capetown, South Africa – there was ‘Gommi’s’ home and Frank’s favourite flying club. The memorial service in Kleve will be held on Saturday, 10th March at 11:30 at the St. Lambertus Church in Donsbrüggen-Kleve.
Everyone who knew him will remember Frank’s love of flying. Next to his family it was his greatest passion in life. Through it, he met so many wonderful people all around the world and touched their lives positively – leaving his mark. This will help us remember him for the exceptional person he was. Words cannot express the loss of such a fine and loving husband and father.
Dorise, Claudia & Robin, Bianca, Malaika
Contact: Kapellenstr. 1, 47533 Kleve, Germany; +49-2821-29666