Top Fire Fighter Dies in Cape Town

Monday, 9 March 2015

CAPE TOWN - One of the country's top helicopter rescue pilots has died while on duty fighting fires at Cape Point in the Western Cape.
The pilot - who has been identified as Bees Marais - was forced into a hard landing at Cape Point earlier on Sunday.
He was flying a Bell 212 'Working On Fire' helicopter.

The pilot who died in a helicopter crash while dousing fire at Cape Point this morning has been identified as Willem Hendrik “Bees” Marais, City Press reports.
Marais attempted a forced landing with his Bell 212 Huey near Olifantsbos in the Table Mountain National Park at 11:30 when he crashed.
As a freelance flyer for poverty relief programme Working On Fire, Marais worked tirelessly this week battling the blaze that erupted last Sunday, scooping water and dropping it on flames with a 1000 litre bambi-bucket attached to his chopper.
Marais, a former South African Air Force (SAAF) pilot, leaves behind his wife, Jacqui, and their children.
A friend of his from his SAAF days, Mariette Hopley, described him as always having a smile on his face.
“Very calm and friendly, always a smile and time for colleagues and people around him. He was loved by all,” Hopley told City Press.
“He excelled as an aviator and taught and shared his knowledge and expertise with many other pilots. He was a special soul and mentor.”