When fires raged around Simon’s Town in December it was the Working on Fire helicopter crews who battled the flames by repeatedly dropping buckets of water on them.

A lone Oryx helicopter of the South African Air Force (SAAF) joined briefly, but had to withdraw because of technical problems. Its only serviceable replacement was an Oryx at 17 Squadron in Pretoria, which was on VIP duty. It was allowed to fly to Cape Town, which resulted in the crew having to sacrifice Christmas celebrations as more fires followed...

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