Trees planted at crash site in honour of fallen healthcare workers

Five indigenous trees representing the deceased were planted at the scene of the accident in remembrance of their lives.
Five indigenous trees representing the deceased were planted at the scene of the accident in remembrance of their lives.
Image: Netcare

The families of four Netcare healthcare workers and a pilot that died in a helicopter accident last week Thursday were today honored in a private ceremony at the crash site in uThukela district.

The medical helicopter which was en route to fetch a patient crashed near Bergville last week Thursday, claiming the lives of all on board.

They were Dr Curnick Siyabonga (Sia) Mahlangu, a cardiothoracic surgeon; Dr Kgopotso Rudolph Mononyane, an anaesthetist; Mpho Xaba, a specialist theatre nurse for cardiothoracic and transplant; Sinjin Joshua Farrance, an advanced life support paramedic at Netcare 911; and the pilot Mark Stoxreiter.

Head of clinical and education for Netcare 911 David Stanton explained that five indigenous trees representing the deceased were planted at the scene of the accident in remembrance of their lives. 

“These five indigenous trees were planted here as a living memorial to represent the five diverse and loved individuals. They will continue to grow and bloom every season to commemorate their memories and their lives. Trees provide life in many forms, from being a source of food, shelter, oxygen and medicine, as well as being held in many cultures as spiritually important and often revered.

These significant trees will grow here, thriving and providing their shade and nourishment to all those who visit. These trees planted here are real living things, serving as a growing memorial to the lives of our five brave heroes,” said Stanton.

Netcare Group CEO, Dr Richard Friedland also paid tribute to his fallen colleagues. 

These five selfless and extraordinary individuals were on a mercy mission doing God’s holy and sacred work, saving lives. This was their calling, their purpose. There is no greater act of humanity than to lose one’s life in attempting to rescue the life of another. We know God uses good people to do great things, and we need not look any further than these young, talented, extraordinary individuals who embody what it means to be a hero. Every day for them was an act of courage and they were the personification of strength, compassion and grace.

Our hearts are broken, we mourn the loss of these fallen heroes, these frontline workers who have given so selflessly, so courageously of themselves. Our hearts are shattered for you, their families, children, loved ones, friends and colleagues whom they have left behind," he said, 

Meanwhile technical operators from the helicopter manufacturer Bell and the helicopter engines Rolls Royce are expected to head up the investigation.

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