Today marks the 30-year anniversary of the Hennenman disaster that rocked South African racing.
A chartered Dakota aircraft transporting a number of jockeys and officials back from racing in Bloemfontein crashed in a mielie field near Hennenman in the Free State on 12 April 1988.
All 24 passengers lost their lives.
The disaster cast a pall over the whole country but especially the racing fraternity, who battled to absorb the shocking news. An air of disbelief pervaded race meetings for a number of weeks.
Many of those killed were jockeys under the age of 22.
The sad irony of the disaster is that the meeting was scheduled to have taken place the previous week with the racing group booked to travel on a scheduled South African Airways flight.However, when rain forced the postponement of the meeting, a plane was specially chartered to transport jockeys and officials to and from Bloemfontein.
The full list of people who lost their lives:
Jockeys: Warren Baillie, Keith Basel, Michael Coetzee, Bennie de Wet, Johannes “Rooies” Fourie, Greg Holme, Danny Lombard, John McMurtry, Mark Nel, Simon Rahilly, Lawrence Riley, Douglas Roper and Gordon Sterley.
Trainer: Hennie van Wyk.
Officials: Dave Bullock, Henry Havergall, Graham Kent, Ginger Masterton and Johannes van der Linden.
Owners: Neville Blignaut and Jacobus Viljoen.
Air crew: Jacob Kalt, Harold Whitehead and Jacqueline Henderson.
On Saturday, the lives of the jockeys, officials, owners, a trainer and crew members will be remembered at the 30th annual Hennenman memorial meeting at Turffontein Racecourse.