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Airline employees continue to put their lives on the line everyday by operating flights during the current pandemic. And a senior Kenya Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner captain has paid the ultimate price as he tragically passed away, a week after commanding a repatriation flight to New York City.
As reported by The Citizen, a senior Kenya Airways Boeing 787 captain has just died a few days after testing positive for COVID-19, days after operating Kenya Airways’ last scheduled flight to New York.
Before the Kenyan government suspended all international flights on March 25th, Kenya Airways offered a one-way COMPLIMENTARY ticket to Kenyans stranded in New York City who wished to return home to Kenya.
As our last flight departs JFK today, we are offering one-way complimentary tickets to Nairobi, to Kenyan citizens in urgent need. Please contact our team on +1(866)5369224 for more information. *All passengers will be subjected to entry/screening procedures instituted by the MOH pic.twitter.com/LNmUbpVGGY
— Kenya Airways (@KenyaAirways) March 24, 2020
New York City was put on lockdown on March 24th, notably the same day the last KQ flight was departing from the John F Kennedy International Airport.
Captain Daudi Kimuyu Kibati, was in command of that last flight from New York to Nairobi, Kenya, which evacuated Kenyan citizens stranded in the United States.
Upon touchdown at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the 61-year-old pilot commenced self-quarantine in a Nairobi hotel.
Captain Kibati, a retired Major of the Kenya Air Force, tested negative for coronavirus upon arrival in Nairobi and two more times over the following days; he stayed isolated from his family and friends until March 29th, when he developed sore throat and fever.
Captain Kibati became ill on March 29th and died on April 1st, a week after performing his last international assignment.
We’ve heard a countless number of stories of airline employees getting COVID-19, and unfortunately this has resulted in some deaths.
Kenya’s national newspaper, the Daily Nation, has also since learned that Captain Kibati’s first officer on the flight from New York City to Nairobi, as well as an unknown number of flight attendants, have also tested positive to the virus and are undergoing treatment.
Captain Kibati’s death comes in the wake of Taiwanese pilots testing positive, 50 Delta pilots testing positive (and possibly covering it up?), airline baggage handlers passing away from it, and several TSA agents testing positive at Atlanta Hartsfield airport, raising concerns about the safety of airlines and airports worldwide.
As of now Kenya only has 122 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and just four deaths, with the Kenya Airways captain among those.
What a heartbreaking story…