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Police Pilot Shot During Chase

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A "courageous" police helicopter pilot has managed to fly himself to

hospital after being wounded in a shootout with a heavily-armed gang

in Johannesburg.


Johannesburg - A "courageous" police helicopter pilot managed to fly

himself to hospital after being wounded in a shootout with a

heavily-armed gang near Lenasia on Wednesday.


Senior Superintendent Rob Siegrist, a 40-year-old Johannesburg

helicopter pilot, was sent to a cash-in-transit heist in progress

around 09:00, national police spokesperson Director Sally de Beer said

in a statement.


"The helicopter pilot's attention was drawn to a wanted vehicle, a

white Chrysler Voyager, and together with police on the ground the

helicopter tracked the vehicle." Some of the occupants in the Voyager

alighted and hijacked a black Toyota Yaris.


"The suspects were armed and began shooting at ground force members

and at the police helicopter. Police members returned fire."


Shot in leg


Siegrist was shot in the leg during the exchange. His colleague,

47-year-old Inspector Piet Maritz was uninjured.


A bullet also struck the helicopter's radio and the chopper itself was

struck several times. Despite the damage and his own injuries, a

bleeding Siegrist managed to fly to Milpark Hospital and land.


"The pilot sustained shrapnel wounds to the leg, but is in good

spirits and the injuries are not serious," said De Beer.


"He will be held for observation for 24 hours."


Guard also injured


Cash transporter SBV Services executive Genea Frade said a security

guard was also injured in the heist.


Police spokesperson Captain Julia Claasen said four arrests had since

been made and stolen property recovered.


"They will be charged for crimes including attempted murder,

possession of suspected stolen property, robbery and possession of

unlicensed firearms."


Police also seized the hijacked Yaris and Voyager as well as four

firearms, including an R4 rifle.


De Beer, meanwhile, commended Siegrist for keeping a level head and

flying to safety despite his injuries.


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