Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare, said: ““Our deepest sympathies are with the families, loved ones and colleagues of Dr Kgopotso Rudolph Mononyane, an anaesthetist, Dr Curnick Siyabonga (Sia) Mahlangu a cardiothoracic surgeon and Mpho Xaba, a specialist theatre nurse for cardiothoracic and transplant, all from Netcare Milpark Hospital; Sinjin Joshua Farrance, an advanced life support paramedic at Netcare 911, as well as the pilot of the helicopter, Mark Stoxreiter who worked for National Airways Corporation.”
Friedland said the five were on their way to collect a critically ill patient when the crash occurred.
“The specialised ECMO intensive care rapid transfer team from Netcare Milpark in Johannesburg and Netcare 911, was aboard the Netcare 1 air ambulance en route to Hillcrest in Natal to transfer a critically ill patient to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg for specialised ECMO care.
“We are shocked beyond words at the tragic loss of these healthcare heroes. The whole of Netcare falls silent as we bow our heads in tribute, respect, love and memory of our fallen colleagues and frontline heroes who have died in the line of duty,” added Friedland.
Craig Grindell, managing director of Netcare 911, said: “There are no words adequate to describe our sense of enormous loss and grief at this terrible time. On behalf of Netcare and Netcare 911 management and staff, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of our colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this most difficult time.”
He confirmed that the next-of-kin of the deceased had been informed of their passing and that counselling is being offered to the families, colleagues and loved ones of the deceased. He asked members of the media to respect the privacy of the families and to bear with Netcare and Netcare 911 during this exceptionally difficult time.
Friedland, Grindell and other senior executives of Netcare and Netcare 911 went to the scene of the accident after being informed of the crash.
Family and friends held a memorial at the helipad at Netcare Milpark hospital on Thursday evening.
Three helicopters performed a flyover as part of the memorial service.
Staff stood around in little groups hugging and talking to each other. They laid flowers on the helipad and lit candles for their friends.