Four Finns, including business leaders, killed in Africa plane crash

The plane crashed in a hilly area south of the Zimbabwe capital Harare on Friday.

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Map showing Masvingo in Zimbabwe, where the small plane crashed on 23.11.2018 / Credit: Google Maps

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that four Finns are among the dead in a plane crash in Zimbabwe.

The small plane crashed in a hilly area of Masvingo Province, south of the capital Harare on Friday. In addition to the four Finns, the plane’s pilot was also killed.

Foreign Minister Timo Soini described the accident as “tragic” and sent his “deep condolences to all of their loved ones”.

The first of the Finnish victims has been names as 51-year old Heikki Vappula, who was an Executive Vice President at UPM, and on a private visit to Africa.

In a statement, the company said authorities confirmed Vappula’s name was on the plane’s passenger list.

“I wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Heikki’s family […] this tragedy escapes all words” says UPM President Jussi Pesonen.

UPDATE: Maintenance and services company Lassila & Tikanoja have announced their CEO Pekka Ojanpää was also one of the four Finnish passengers killed in the Zimbabwe plane crash.

Ojanpää had been due to leave his job at L&T at the end of this month to take up a new position as CEO of Suominen corporation.

“We have lost the CEO, manager and friend. It is really difficult to understand what has happened” says Jorma Mikkonen from Lassila & Tikanoja.