‘I am not a hero’ - Johannes Kambonde
21 December 2020 | Accidents
“I am not a hero, because nobody survived the accident,” says Johannes Kambonde, who pulled pilot Pierre Blaauw (40) from a burning gyrocopter wreck on Thursday.
“I am so sorry that nobody survived. They could have survived,” Kambonde (45) told Republikein.
“Nobody helped me to rescue them. They just took photos and videos.”
Kambonde, who works for Hertz car rentals, came across the crash scene on his way home from Hosea Kutako International Airport on Thursday afternoon.
“I jumped out of the car when I saw the burning wreckage in the road and the pilot trying to escape from it.
“It wasn’t easy to pull him out, as my hands got burned. I took off my shirt and pulled him to the road shoulder, but then the dry grass next to the road caught fire.
“Nobody offered to help me put out the grass fire. I wanted to go back to pull the passenger from the wreck too, but first I had to put out the fire,” Kambonde recalled.
He said he was talking to Blaauw the whole time they were waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
“I asked him what his name was and he said it was Pierre. I asked him if he was married, and he said no.”
Kambonde said Blaauw kept asking how his passenger was.
“I told him his friend was okay. Later after the emergency services arrived, a paramedic told him that his friend was dead. He shouldn’t have told him that,” Kambonde said.
He said he has not received any trauma counselling.
“It was a painful experience to see people in flames. I’m working over the festive season and will drive past the crash scene every day. Seeing the marks in the road will always remind me of this awful experience. I don’t know if those marks will ever disappear.”
Kambonde, originally from Ondangwa, has been living in Windhoek since 1999, is married and has nine children.
“I am a family man and my heart bleeds for the victims’ families. I would like to know when their funerals will be.”
Blaauw was admitted to the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital with severe burns. He died early on Friday morning.
The passenger was identified as Donbaldt Noa (26), the son of Paulus Noa, director-general of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
A preliminary report on the crash is expected to be released this week by the Directorate of Aircraft Accident Investigation.
The report has been compiled already but still has to be signed off by works and transport minister John Mutorwa, who was not in Windhoek over the weekend.
According to police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi, the gyrocopter, which had taken off from Eros Airport, hit a power line, burst into flames and burnt out completely.
The crash occurred at 14:20 between Windhoek and the Kapps Farm roadblock.
The director of aircraft accident investigation, Magnus Abraham, told Namibian Sun that they were investigating why the aircraft was flying at such low altitude.