News from Tabora and Arusha, Tanzania
The Two Tourists who were traveling in the Air Excel plane from Arusha heading to Katavi National Park, could have been killed in a fateful crash alongside their pilot.
That is because Captain Steve Lohay, aged 44, who was flying their craft, suffered a heart attack, collapsed on the controls while the plane was in Tabora.
Fortunately, the pilot fell ill a few seconds before take-off from Tabora Airport, where the aircraft had temporarily landed to refuel.
Which means they were saved by the fact that the aircraft was forced to land mid-way in Tabora instead of proceeding directly to Katavi after leaving Arusha City.
Godfrey Kaaya, the Tabora Airport Manager, says there were two foreign tourists on board the plane which carried three, including the pilot.
They all got off the plane at Tabora to take a breather by walking about as the fuel was being pumped into the craft.
After the plane was filled up, the three returned on board and the pilot started the engine but suddenly the passengers were heard screaming for help.
Apparently, their pilot, Mr Lohay had collapsed on the controls as the engine was running.
Fortunately, there was another plane which was packed near the Air Excel one with its pilot in the cockpit.
He rushed to the plane, switched off the engines and helped to drag off the fainted pilot from the cabin.
Stephen Lohay, who was the Chief Pilot at Air Excel, was rushed to Malolo hospital in Tabora.
His blood pressure was found to be extremely high and according to medical attendants the pilot also suffered ruptured veins resulting in internal head bleeding.
Air Excel sent two more planes, one to pick up the stranded tourists and another to evacuate the ailing pilot from Tabora to Dar-es-salaam for further treatment.
Unfortunately, the Pilot Died
Too bad, Air Excel was report later that their Chief Pilot died upon landing at the Julius Kambarage Nyerere International Airport (JKNIA).
Captain Steve Lohay, a resident of Kiserian area of Arusha, gets cremated in Arusha on Friday, October 7, 2022.
The Pilot was also the Chairperson of the Arusha Motor Sports Club.