A veteran British Airways pilot has been stabbed and held at gunpoint after going on an unapproved run in the “lawless” South African city of Johannesburg.
The pilot was rushed to hospital after suffering a stab wound to the thigh as the BA community remains “shaken” by the incident, according to a source with knowledge of the airline.
British Airways maintains a hotel in the Melrose Arch neighbourhood of Johannesburg, known as a “city within a city” and the safest place in an otherwise dangerous part of South Africa, where their employees stay in between flights.
The area is patrolled 24 hours a day all week and features more than 100 shops and restaurants, as well as leisure facilities such as bowling alleys.
The airliner strictly advises its crewmembers using the facilities to stay within the Melrose Arch boundaries but the veteran pilot, alongside a member of his crew, “decided to risk it and go for a jog”, according to the same source.
A BA source said: “The rules are there for a reason. Crew are ordered not to leave the hotel compound. But the captain and crew member decided to risk it and go for a jog.
“Soon afterwards they were followed and held-up at gunpoint. During a melee the captain was stabbed in the leg.
“It was a harrowing ordeal. The pilot was taken to hospital. Everyone is just so thankful he’s okay. It could have been so much worse.
“The incident has really shaken the BA community. Polite reminders have been made about sticking to the rules.”
A separate crew was found to take home from South Africa the plane the injured veteran had been due to pilot.
The captain was discharged from hospital after treatment and was flown home as a passenger earlier this week.
Both crew members were offered time off work and counselling to deal with the trauma of their terrifying hold-up.
Passengers on the two return flights were unaware of the deadly ordeal.
Official government advice from South Africa urges tourists to practise caution when visiting Johannesburg.
The crime rate for visitors is “severe”, they said, with theft very common and criminals targeting tourists for carjacking attempts, kidnap and sexual assault.
Official advise said: “There is a high crime rate, including carjacking, house robbery, rape, sexual assault and murder. Violent crime can take place anywhere, including in tourist destinations and transport hubs.”
British Airways are “Providing support to our colleagues who have since returned to the UK”, according to an official statement.