Killed over a video

2012-09-19 00:00

DARRYL Wood had already known heartache before yesterday dawned.

She and partner Brandon Booth, of Balgowan in the Midlands, had lost a child to cancer a few years ago.

Then, two months ago, they rejoiced at the birth of their second daughter, Willow.

Yesterday, however, Wood was mourning again on learning that Booth was one of eight South Africans killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.

Speaking at their farm in Balgowan, Wood, a well-known organiser of shows and exhibitions, said she was overcome by grief.

“We had just had a baby and this is such a terrible time,” she said, weeping.

She had heard of Booth’s death from a representative of ACS/Balmoral, the aviation company he worked for, early yesterday morning.

A suicide bomber had driven a bomb-laden vehicle into their minibus, apparently because of an American-made video which denigrates Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.

“Brandon was a very passionate and non-conformist man, and he just saw life differently to anyone I have ever known. He loved flying and he loved his children.

“I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling. It is so surreal; it feels like I’m going to get a phone call from him at any moment.

“I am so angry; they were all innocent people and they died because of a YouTube video. So many families are devastated because of a video,” she said.

“I am dreading having to watch the press conference because more of those we’re close to could have died.”

Booth, who was born in Durban on April 29, 1965, had attended Northlands High School and thereafter studied photography at the then Technikon Natal.

“Flying was a hobby that turned into a career, and it was something that he was very passionate about,” Wood said.

The seasoned pilot had flown extensively for the United Nations in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and had been flying in Afghanistan for nearly two years.

“We built this home together and have been living in Balgowan for seven years,” said Wood.

She was being supported by family and friends yesterday.

Wood said Booth was “an adoring family man”.

He worked in Afghanistan for eight-week stretches, returning home for breaks of two weeks.

He used to spend as much time as possible with Wood, Willow and her sister, five-year-old Zara.

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