A disabled pilot who captured the attention of the UAE public with his round-the-world flight attempt has died after crashing during an attempt to land in Thailand.
Mike Lomberg, 60, a former South African Air Force pilot passed through Dubai World Central last month to great fanfare and made international headlines with his record-breaking flight.
Lomberg was able to fly his plane using his hands alone after losing the use of his legs in a car accident in 1990.
He had hoped that the flight through 40 countries would raise awareness about disability.
He was coming in to land at Bang Phra airport on Sunday when the incident happened. According to local media, the plane was only final approach when it suddenly veered off into nearby trees.
A spokesman for Handiflight said the cause of the accident was still being investigated.
“Dear friends, we are so sad to inform you of the death of our friend Mike Lomberg due to the accident that happened shortly before he landed at Bang Phra Airport in Thailand,” said a spokesperson for Lomberg. “This tragic accident is inexplicable at the moment. The investigation is ongoing.”
“Mike’s family – Peta, Chris, Amy and Jem would like to thank you all for your messages of love and support. Mike’s life was filled with unbelievable challenges, but he was defined by his abilities in every sense,” he added.