Pilot of daring Ellis Park World Cup flypast dies

2013-04-25 00:00

HE will be remembered as the pilot who flew an SAA Boeing low over Ellis Park before the 1995 Rugby Wolrd Cup final.

Yesterday, former captain Laurie Kay died of a massive heart attack in the Kruger Park.

Heartbroken colleagues said Kay (68) was devoted to flying until his dying day.

He was at the Skukuza airport in the park to pilot a light aircraft to help the reserve fight rhino poaching.

He died while a police helicopter was on its way to airlift him to hospital.

In 1995, Kay gained worldwide fame when he flew a Boeing 747 just 200 feet above Ellis Park’s topmost seats before the match in which the Springboks beat the All Blacks.

The stunt is still regarded as the most daring flypast in a passenger jet.

His former SAA colleague, aerobatic ace Scully Levin, said his friend of 46 years had left an indelible mark on South African aviation.

“He was devoted to flying with the highest standards. As senior training captain at SAA he didn’t allow any mistakes. He was as concerned about his health as about his work environment, which was why he could still fly at 68 without a problem.”

Levin said Kay arrived at Skukuza yesterday to help game rangers in the fight against rhino poaching, as he had done before. He felt terrible, but thought there was something wrong with some nuts he had eaten.

A doctor at the airport realised something was badly wrong because he was sweating heavily, and the police helicopter stationed in Kruger was called to take him to hospital, he said.

“Laurie phoned his wife, Adrienne, to tell her he was sick, and then phoned a friend, Peter Bakken, at SA Express to arrange a ticket for her to come to Kruger.

“When Peter phoned back a while later to say the ticket was arranged, he spoke to a nurse. Laurie was already dead.”

Kay leaves his wife and three children, Roy, Helen and Laurienne, asd well as several grandchildren.

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