Whilst we we were still coming to terms with the untimely death of our colleague and comrade Hon. Jackson Mthembu, (who sadly passed away from COVID-19 related complications on Thursday, 21 January), we were shocked to learn that the anaesthetist who assisted the emergency team with Hon. Mthembuā€™s resuscitation, Dr. Rudolph Mononyane, was killed in a rescue helicopter crash.

The circumstances surrounding this are particularly devastating as Dr Mononyane, along with his colleagues Dr Siyabonga Mahlangu, Nurse Mpho Xaba, ALS Paramedic Sinjin Joshua Farrance and pilot Mark Stoxreiter, were traveling in the helicopter to KwaZulu Natal as a response team for another critically ill patient. This was shortly after Dr Mononyane had delayed the flight to assist colleagues who were trying to stabilise Hon. Mthembu at Milpark Hospital.

This is a tragic loss that has robbed the country of such highly skilled professionals who were prepared to put the lives of others before their own. I salute our departed colleagues and the pilot who fell in the line of duty. This country has weathered the COVID-19 storm because of the sheer dedication of professionals such as these.

We call on the aviation industry to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the helicopter crash so that we may never in future suffer such a devastating loss of valuable frontlineĀ  responders who travel in emergency aircraft.

We convey our sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of our colleagues that we lost in this terrible accident. May their souls rest in eternal peace and may we never forget that they remained dedicated and committed to delivering quality health care right to the end of their lives.

Issued by the Ministry of Health