A senior Kenya Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner captain who tragically passed away a week after commanding a repatriation flight to New York City, USA will today be laid to rest today in a ceremony only attended by close family members and under strict government supervision.
Captain Daudi Kimuyu Kibati, became ill on March 29th and later died on April 1st, a week after performing his last international assignment for Kenya Airways.
Captain Kibati was in command of the last flight from New York to Nairobi, which evacuated Kenyan citizens stranded in the United States, before the government’s ban on international flights took effect last Wednesday.
The flight was one of salvation. One that sought to airlift Kenyans back home in a last-minute dash to escape the devastation caused by the virus in the US. Ultimately, though, it proved to be his last takeoff.
His death comes in the wake of Taiwanese pilots also testing positive to coronavirus, raising concerns about the safety of airline crews worldwide.
Before the 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.
This morning, his body left Lee Funeral Home for burial at his home in Kavisuni village in Kitui.
In the emotional Saturday-morning event, a team from Kenya Airways mounted a guard of honour for the veteran pilot outside the facility.
In the emotional video, the KQ staff lined up at the gate were clapping as the Hearse carrying Captain Kibati’s body left Lee Funeral Home.
Here is the video below courtesy of Nation Media Group.
Captain Kibati's family and KQ colleagues at Lee Funeral home earlier this morning. Capt Kibati is one of the patients who died from Covid-19, he flew the last Dreamliner flight from New York last week. pic.twitter.com/y8vEaz60xR
— Daily Nation (@dailynation) April 4, 2020
Meanwhile, the First Officer on the same flight is reportedly still in the ICU.
Six Cabin Crew Members from Kenya Airways have also tested positive for the deadly illness which first originated in Wuhan, China, and are currently quarantined at the Crowne Plaza in Nairobi.