Pilot praised for landing after aneurysm

2011-11-17 10:01

Bloemfontein - Experts say it was extreme determination that allowed a Bloemfontein pilot to land a private jet after he became paralysed on his left side during a flight.

Danie Minnie, who made the miracle landing on Sunday after suffering a brain haemorrhage, died on Wednesday.

Ernest Claassen, director of Aviation Safety Training Africa, expressed his amazement at the sheer willpower Minnie had shown to land the Cessna Citation Mustang in Bloemfontein after an aneurysm had disabled him.

Claassen is a former member of the SA Airforce and chief of the Civil Aviation Administration.

Brain dead

“It is more likely that pilots under extremely high stress and pressure, like air force pilots, might experience something like this. Especially because their planes are subject to far higher gravitational forces than commercial jets,” he said.

“In my experience, a pilot suffering an aneurysm is very rare in any event.”

An aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel that can burst. It can be hereditary or arise from illness.

Dr Richard Albrecht, a senior aviation doctor in Johannesburg, said commercial pilots aged over 40 have to undergo extensive medicals every six months, but no routine test would pick up an aneurysm.

Depending on where it is, an aneurysm can be treated successfully if it is diagnosed.

“However, most people only discover they have an aneurysm when it bursts, because they are so difficult to spot,” he said.

Minnie, who was declared brain dead on Tuesday, died on Wednesday, said Esmarie Cronjé, spokesperson for the Life Rosepark hospital in Bloemfontein.

  • TypeRSA - 2011-11-17 10:05

    What a good pilot he was. R.I.P mate

  • Jacques - 2011-11-17 10:12

    a wonderful but sad story

      Sandra - 2011-11-17 10:57

      I agree, a hero, his wife deserves a medal on his behalf. May he rest in peace. Sympathies to his family. He is to be saluted.

  • Mouldy - 2011-11-17 10:21

    As an ex-SAAF type myself, I salute you Sir! The final flight is done and the chocks are secure, go in peace.

      Lesley - 2011-11-17 12:23

      Oh darn. I was holding it together quite well until I read your fab comment @Mouldy. Now the tears are flowing ...

      drishworth - 2011-11-17 14:35

      @Lesley......... ditto. Condolences to the family - in spite of your pain you can be so proud of Danie.R.I.P.

  • kritzinger - 2011-11-17 10:22

    What a legend.

  • darryn.havenga - 2011-11-17 10:22

    Sympathy love and prayer to his family, he died a hero, this could have been a mjor tragedy

  • Paul - 2011-11-17 10:23

    A committed and loyal professional. R.I.P.

      Jacques - 2011-11-17 10:32

      @paul and they are so rare nowadays

  • tonybighit - 2011-11-17 10:42

    Bladdy well done!

  • sibusiso.mpofu1 - 2011-11-17 10:48

    Mind over matter. That's what I call 'A Hero'! Since we don't know for sure what happens after death, I shall assume he is happy where He is and proud of himself. Thus, we should celebrate with Him and learn from His experience. It also shows how skilled He was. SA pilots are very skilled and good in the air.

      TypeRSA - 2011-11-17 10:53

      Well said bud

      Christelle - 2011-11-17 11:43

      Sibusiso, I am simply stunned that somebody gave you a thumbs down. Well said - you deserve a 1000 thumbs up!!!!

      Elaine - 2011-12-02 10:15

      Shows the trolls are alive and well. How can you give this and any other positive comment a thumbs down!

  • shoes.tsipane - 2011-11-17 10:48

    What a real Pilot indeed, may his soul Rest In Peace

  • petra.nicol - 2011-11-17 10:57

    What a hero - I was so chuffed for him until I read further that he'd subsequently died. Love & blessings to his family, I can only imagine how devastated they must be. But so proud of him too....

  • Kraken - 2011-11-17 11:11

    This guy is a true hero and legend! His name should go up on a wall of fame somewhere.

  • marazor - 2011-11-17 11:20

    Real South African heroes!

  • Nigel - 2011-11-17 11:22

    may he RIP, thoughts to his family & friends, heroic!!

  • Koos - 2011-11-17 11:25

    Alles van die beste!

  • Demetrius - 2011-11-17 11:47

    Danie Minnie(RIP) In my book you are way up there in the Hall of hero's.. May God be of comfort to those you have left behind.

  • rlong1952 - 2011-11-17 12:36

    Who is the moron giving a thumbs down to the compliments being paid here? This man was a true hero. To those who think otherwise and give a thumbs down, go and troll somewhere else.

      Henri - 2011-11-17 13:01

      He is a TRUE poepol mate - may a thousand pissed off fire ants invade his tattered underpants.This pilot was heroic as this idiot is a drongo.

      Christelle - 2011-11-17 16:38

      Well, who ever it is - quite a coward - not prepared to say why he is thumbs downing - thank you God that he was not in control of the plane under the circumstances of this brave man who's life we are celebrating!!!

  • matome.matlakala1 - 2011-11-17 16:54


  • Petro - 2011-11-28 08:55

    He is worth going up in Avaation history as a GREAT HERO!!! Caring for other peoples lifes by not allowing the plane to crash. Apart from saving the plane. THAT IS SELFCONTROL at its best. He must have been TRUELY a great person to have know. We will meet you on a paradise EARTH. PS 37: 29.

  • Elaine - 2011-12-02 10:04

    What an amazing feat. My sister had a brain aneurysm and was completely unconsious vut luckily survived after an operation.

  • Elaine - 2011-12-02 10:08

    What an amazing feat - a real hero - he should get a medal. My sister had an aneurism and was unconcious - luckily she survived an op and is 100% today.

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