On May 13, 2008, then Minister for Public Service Dalmas Otieno, received a chilling email about his son Isaiah- that he had died in a tragic helicopter crash.
In the news that made international headlines, a Bell 206 Jet Ranger crashed on Isaiah, who was walking along the streets of a Canadian city, just an hour after he was on phone with his father.
What puzzled many was how the 23-year-old failed to notice the imminent danger of the crashing aircraft while everyone in the vicinity scampered for safety.
An image of the chopper carnage in British Columbia on May 13, 2008.
Toronto Star “There was a pedestrian walking on the street across from me and he was just about at the back alley and I don’t think he even knew what hit him,” Elmer Bautz, a witness who narrowly escaped the ordeal told the press.
It was later established that Isaiah had his headphones on and was listening to music when the helicopter came crashing on him.
Witnesses questioned how loud the music was that he did not hear the sound of the chopper or the attempted efforts of those that witnessed the accident to warn him of the nose-diving helicopter.
“It didn’t crash at a high speed. The pilot had been trying to control it, but the motor was out at that point and he fell the last 15 feet. Unfortunately, it hit a pedestrian on the sidewalk,” a second witness added.
The chopper crashed onto the streets, bursting into flames, killing the third-year student and all three men on board – a pilot and two workers of an electricity company on a maintenance operation
Unfortunately, one of the witnesses who captured the tragedy on phone was not aware that his best friend was the unlucky pedestrian. He opined that Isaiah could have noticed the danger but did not know how to react, citing a previous incident.
An investigation into the crash revealed that the aircraft had developed engine failure. It also established that the pilot tried to land on the street, avoiding the adjacent residential areas.
Dalmas and his family flew to Canada to pay last respects to their loved one. They further demanded an expeditious probe into the matter and compensation for the loss of his son’s life.
Following his death, the College of the Rookies held a memorial service for Otieno, where colleagues eulogised the student they described as a quiet giant owing to his height.
An image of former Cabinet Minister Dalmas Otieno
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