Cape Town’s mountains have seen many things as the years have passed, ranging from the city’s evolution to the devastating Table Mountain fire of 2006. One of the forgotten stories is the Devil’s Peak Tragedy on May 26, 1971.
There are conflicting reports as to whether there were three or four South African Air Force Hawker Siddeley 125 Mercurius jets, but these are reported to have flown over the Cape Town peninsula before crashing. All 11 crew members were killed.
It is reported that these jets were flying in preparation of a massive 220 aircraft flypast for a Republic day display when they inexplicably flew into the mountain just above Rhodes Memorial. Some reports state that three of the aircrafts crashed into the mountain, while the fourth also crashed, but down into Cape Town itself.
This, however, cannot be confirmed.
The mountain was said to shrouded in a thick mist and many believe the lead aircraft may have miscalculated the arch of its turning circle.
This accident reportedly decimated the fleet, and the South African Air Force was then left with only one HS 123 Mercurius jet, which was not included in the flight formation.