A 33-year-old man is currently recovering at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital after he set himself alight at the Lydenburg airfield in Mpumalanga following an apparent domestic dispute with his wife.
According to Lydenburg police spokesperson Sergeant Elizabeth Mogao, Thabo Mkhondo poured petrol over himself while sitting in his bakkie on Wednesday, Lowvelder reported.
Mkhondo had allegedly phoned his father earlier that day and told him of his intention to end his life.
Louis van Rhyn, who was doing maintenance work at the airfield at that time, heard people screaming and saw Mkhondo next to the flaming bakkie. He pushed the vehicle out of the way with his son’s bakkie and extinguished the flames with water.
“I thought he was dead. Everyone was screaming that he was dead. I started talking to him and he responded. He told me that he was tired and wanted to bring an end to his life. He told me his name and that he worked at [a mine],” said Van Rhyn.
He immediately called for ambulance assistance and also phoned Mkhondo’s father and obtained his medical-aid details. In an attempt to keep him conscious Van Rhyn kept on talking to him until the ambulance arrived. Hazmat operator, Deon Broekman, was the first paramedic to reach the scene.
“The man sustained severe burn wounds to his body. His clothes were burnt from his body. I immediately called for airlift assistance,” said Broekman.
Mkhondo was treated and stabilised on scene by Netcare 911 paramedics until the EMS helicopter arrived.
According to paramedics, Mhondo was stabilised and airlifted to Nelspruit Mediclinic. He suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns to more than 90 per cent of his body.
He was later transferred to Milpark Hospital for further treatment at the hospital’s burn unit.
– Caxton News Service