Pilot makes perfect landing after suffering brain haemorrhage in mid-air

2011-11-16 00:00

A PILOT who managed to land a small jet despite being paralysed on his left side by a brain haemorrhage during the flight was yesterday declared brain-dead.

Bloemfontein pilot Danie Minnie (43) was still alive at the time of going to press, said Esmarie Cronjé, spokesperson for Bloemfontein’s Life Rosepark Hospital.

On Sunday Minnie was flying to Johannesburg to fetch a

Bloemfontein businessman, Marius Eksteen, when he suffered a haemorrhage.

While he was waiting to land in Johannesburg he started to vomit and decided to turn back to Bloemfontein. 

He kept in constant contact with his wife, Odette, and with air traffic controllers

They all realised something was seriously wrong when Minnie started to sound confused.

Nevertheless, he managed a perfect landing and phoned Eksteen to tell him he had no feeling on his left side, but that the plane was safely parked in a hangar.

Jannie Minnie, his brother, who is a pilot from Harrismith, said Odette told him that Minnie became paralysed as he flew over Welkom.

“When Odette got to the airport my brother grabbed her hand and kissed her, telling her he loved her,” said Minnie.

Eksteen said he became concerned when Minnie didn’t arrive to fly him home.

After the phone call he hired a car to drive back to Bloemfontein.

Cronjé said Dr Dan Hugo, the neurologist who treated Minnie, said an aneurism (a weakened area in a blood vessel) burst in his brain.

Eksteen, who knew Minnie for 18 years, said he was not only an outstanding pilot, but also a wonderful person.

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