SA paraplegic pilot Mike Lomberg dies in plane crash in Thailand
A South African paraplegic pilot has died in a plane crash in Thailand.
“Dear friends, we have the sadness to inform you of the death of our friend Mike Lomberg following the accident that occurred shortly before landing at Bang Phra Airport in Thailand. This tragic accident is now inexplicable. The investigation is in progress,” Handiflight Around the World said on its Facebook page on December 30 2018.
According to The Bangkok Post, police and rescuers found the plane engulfed in flames. They suspect it hit nearby power lines when it came in to land.
Lomberg, 60, joined Handiflight, a Switzerland-based non-profit and disability rights-advocacy group, after he was disabled in a car crash 28 years ago. The trip was part of a round-the-world adventure which began on November 18 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. It was expected to end in September 2019.
The Hindu reported that Lomberg was a former South African Air Force pilot and test pilot who became disabled after damaging his spinal cord in the car crash.
Lomberg said on his Facebook page on December 28 2018 that it was his first trip to Thailand. Those involved in the trip were flying from Chittagong, Bangladesh, to Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand.
“Just thinking about it, in the context of my own life was surreal. A guy from Cape Town, a wheelchair user after being injured in a motor accident 28 years ago, flying again, and now flying around the world as part of a team aiming to change perceptions about disability and hopefully inspire others, disabled or not, to take on new challenges and expand their own horizons. Today flying from Bangladesh across Myanmar and into Thailand. This was no ordinary day.”
Gutted to hear that Mike Lomberg's plane had an accident in Thailand, just before landing, and he is dead. We'd only spoke once at length, and I had wanted to go meet him and Guillaume in Nagpur, but it didn't work out. You went doing what you love, Mike. Hope you're flying free. pic.twitter.com/XhhjZIEfAc— Peter Griffin (@zigzackly) December 30, 2018
No adequate words 2 convey #MikeLomberg’s #impact & #legacy but I tried & will continue 2 try so that the world understands what he was doing in the name of #breakingbarriers 4 people who thought broken bodies meant broken #spirits. #pilot #paraplegia #rip #aroundtheworld pic.twitter.com/lQeVIowWlA— PhoenixAttitude (@PhoenixAttitude) December 30, 2018
أثر حادث أليم بدولة تايلاند توفى هذا الطيار التاريخى 🙏— المغامر مازن حمزة (@mezan_h) December 30, 2018
Handiflight around the world 😢😢
My sincere condolences to Mike Lomberg loved ones and may his Soul Rest In Peace. Thanks for your fabulous inspiration during your stay in egypt 😢 - يشعر بـالحزن
The crash comes just days after a South African paramedic, Mark Roxburgh, died in a helicopter crash in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Roxburgh was among four people who died when a helicopter spun out of control and crashed. According to reports, the search-and-rescue chopper may have crashed after clipping the world’s longest zipline in Ras Al Khaimah on December 29 2018.
Video footage showed the helicopter tumbling through the air before crashing and exploding.