By 1978 the Rhodesian Bush War had gone hot with ZIPRA and ZANLA communist terrorists flooding across the borders of Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana. Despite the war, life had to go on for the civilians who chose to stand their ground in their homeland.
Lake Kariba was a popular resort location and vacation spot for native Rhodesians, so it was a light atmosphere that existed on flight RH 825 that flew the vacationers back to Salisbury. When the Viscount airplane was struck with a SA-7 missile the pilot somehow managed to keep the aircraft under control and attempted a belly landing. Striking a trench in an otherwise open field, the Viscount came apart, spilling three tons of jet fuel in the process.
The following morning a small team of Rhodesian Special Air Service soldiers parachuted into the remote crash site to secure the area and search for survivors. What they found shook the combat hardened soldiers to their core. The plane had been torn to pieces, body parts were everywhere. The survivors of the crash had been executed by a gang of terrorists who happened across the scene. They had been shot and bayoneted to death. A baby that had miraculously survived the crash had been killed by a terrorist thrusting a bayonet through it’s head.
“Even as a hardened 20-year old SAS soldier, my stomach turned as the nausea hit my throat. What I saw will be with me forever,” writes Sergeant Johan Bezuidenhout of the scene he saw on the ground that day. 56 civilians were killed during the RH 825 disaster.