A Netcare 911 helicopter tragically crashed near Bergville in KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday, January 21, leaving all five people on board dead. Health Minister Zweli Mkhize revealed that one of the health personnel onboard had attempted to save Minister Jackon Mthembu’s life before stepping onto the helicopter.

Those who lost their lives were Dr Kgopotso Rudolph Mononyane, an anaesthetist, Dr Curnick Siyabonga (Sia) Mahlangu a cardiothoracic surgeon and Mpho Xaba, a specialist theatre nurse for cardiothoracic and transplant, all from Netcare Milpark Hospital; Sinjin Joshua Farrance, an advanced life support paramedic at Netcare 911, as well as the pilot of the helicopter, Mark Stoxreiter who worked for National Airways Corporation.

Dr Mononyane had cancelled another emergency to help try and save the life of Minister Jackson Mthembu, who also tragically died on Thursday from COVID-19-related complications. Afterwards, he was en-route to Hillcrest in Natal to transfer a critically ill patient to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg for specialised ECMO care when the helicopter crashed.

“He came together to do everything he could to support Minister Mthembu. Unfortunately, as he was flying out, a fatal accident happened. We wish to convey our sincere condolences to the families of those doctors and pilots,” Mkhize told eNCA on Thursday.

After the tragic accident, Netcare released a statement mourning the loss of these five lives.

“The whole of Netcare falls silent as we bow our heads in tribute, respect, love and memory of our fallen colleagues and frontline heroes who have died in the line of duty,” Netcare said in a statement.

“There are no words adequate to describe our sense of profound loss and grief at this terrible time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”

Netcare also hosted a flypast tribute to Netcare 911 paramedics and staff at Netcare Milpark on Thursday night. Hundreds of EMS personnel joined in to pay their respects to those that lost their lives.

Picture: Twitter / Netcare

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