- The pilot who died while battling the Garden Route fire has been named as Nico Heyns
- A colleague hailed him as a "legend who saved many lives"
- The helicopter he was flying crashed as he battled the blaze
The hero pilot who passed away while battling the fire in Garden Route, Western Cape, has been identified as 65-year-old Nico Heyns.
The helicopter Heyns was flying crashed during a firefighting operation near Riversdale on Tuesday, News24 reports.
Southern Cape police spokesperson, Captain Malcolm Pojie, said Riversdale police station has started an inquest into the cause of the crash.
Heyns' colleague, Patrick Hall, posted a heartfelt tribute to him on Facebook. He described him as a "legend that saved many lives and property, a man that never gave up until the end."
He accompanied his tribute with a group photo that showed a smiling Heyns posing with his colleagues, Briefly.co.za gathered.
Kishugu Aviation, whose helicopter Heyns was flying, and the Civil Aviation Authority also sent their tributes and condolences to the pilot's family.
Anton Bredell, MEC of local government, environmental affairs and development planning, conveyed sympathies on behalf of the Western Cape government.
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