A British Airways pilot was reportedly kidnapped and brutally assaulted during a layover in Johannesburg, the violent crime capital of South Africa, in what turned out to be a five-hour ordeal, which only ended when all of his bank accounts were emptied.
The First Officer was spending two days in Johannesburg with the rest of his crew where they stay in a secure private development in one of the city’s most desirable locations.
During his layover, however, the pilot left the heavily guarded gated community to shop at a local supermarket just minutes away. As he was returning to the safety of the luxury compound, a woman asked him to help load her shopping in her car.
As he reached the car, masked men bundled the pilot into the back of the vehicle and took him to a house where he was held prisoner for hours as the kidnappers tried to access his bank accounts.
After emptying his accounts, the assailants then called his wife and threatened to hurt her husband unless she also handed over her bank account details.
Before releasing him, the gang threatened to publish compromising photos they had forced him to take if he reported what had happened to the police.
In a statement, a spokesperson for British Airways did not confirm the details of the allegations but told us: “We are supporting our colleague and the local authorities with their investigation”.
Last July, a British Airways Captain was held at gunpoint, robbed and then stabbed in the leg after going for a jog with a colleague close to the same gated community in Johannesburg.
The pilot had to be rushed to a local hospital, where he received emergency treatment before being allowed to return home.
According to official statistics, there have been an average of 75 killings and 400 aggravated robberies in South Africa every single day over the last year.
The British government warns that the threat of kidnap throughout South Africa has been increasing in recent years and that there have even been “reports of young children being kidnapped from shops, shopping malls and beaches.”
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.