South Africa, Durban – This was revealed by Health Minister, Zweli Mkhize who sent his condolences to the families of the five people who died when the Netcare 911 helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Bergville.
Dr Mononyane was meant to leave Milpark Hospital as part of a medical crew that was flying to Durban to transport a critically-ill patient earlier on Thursday but was held back to treat Mthembu who had been battling Covid-19.
In an interview with eNCA, Mkhize said: “One of the doctors who has passed away in the crash was actually called by a friend, Dr Paul Williams, to come and assist to save minister Jackson during that difficult time. He dropped the trip; he was supposed to go to KwaZulu-Natal. And then his team waited [and] delayed his flight. He came back [to help Mthembu]. They worked very hard. Dr Kgopotso Rudolph Mononyane, a cardiothoracic anaesthetist, came together [with other doctors] to do everything they could to support minister Jackson.’’
“And of course, unfortunately, on his way out, as he was flying out, he had a fatal accident,” Mkhize said. “We’d like to convey our very sincere condolences to the families of all those doctors and pilots who lost their lives. We know their dedication, their hard work and their effort to try to save lives all the time.”
Despite their best efforts, Mthembu would later succumb to Covid-19 complications.
In a statement on Thursday night, Netcare said the crew was on their way to Durban to fetch a critically ill patient when the helicopter crashed.
“We are shocked beyond words at the tragic loss of these healthcare heroes. 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,” said Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.