BA Pilot Kidnapped, Tortured, Robbed In South Africa


During a layover in Johannesburg, a British Airways pilot was abducted, assaulted and robbed by thieves, according to The Sun.  

The first officer was apparently the victim of a scam when a woman asked him to help carry her bags to her car outside of a supermarket. Upon reaching the vehicle, several men pushed him inside the car and drove him to a remote location where he was allegedly tortured for hours until surrendering “thousands of pounds.”

Due to his injuries, the unnamed pilot was unable to fly the aircraft back to London and a replacement was brought in, according to The Sun. The Telegraph said it was the second attack of a British Airways employee in the last six months. Another pilot was stabbed in the leg while on a run and held at gunpoint in 2023. 

“We are supporting our colleague and the local authorities with their investigation,” the airline told The Sun. The U.S. Department of State issued a Level 2 advisory for individuals traveling to South Africa, urging tourists to exercise extreme caution due to prevalent violent crime in the area.

Amelia Walsh
Amelia Walsh is a private pilot who enjoys flying her family’s Columbia 350. She is based in Colorado and loves all things outdoors including skiing, hiking, and camping.


  1. I flew internationally and insisted that the crew excursions on layover were two people minimum. I made an effort to blend in with the local populace and considered it a compliment when asked for directions by a tourist.
    I felt much more comfortable on the streets of Paris than in our nations capital Washington DC.

  2. I interpreted the quote, “surrendering ‘thousands of pounds.’ ” to indicate he somehow wired or withdrew that money, not that he had it on his person.

  3. I do Johannesburg layovers regularly. It’s one of the few cities in our route structure where the company just plain tells us to not leave the hotel alone. Good advice.

  4. What’s this guy griping about? As FO, I seem to remember the job description was being taken against my will to a remote location where I was tortured for hours (900 or so a year, according to my log book)

    Nefarious characters known only as “Scheduling” routinely kidnapped me, for days at a time, to secluded areas such as Albany, Canton, or Scranton. There, at the La Quinta Inn next to the airport, I was subjected to unspeakable the savagery of the so-called Bright Side Breakfast® and “pet-friendly rooms”

    In the adjacent chain restaurant, on more than one evening I fell victim to a scam when a woman asked me to help carry her (emotional) bags, and before I was able to call for help (in my case, my divorce lawyer, 4 years later), I had similarly surrendered thousands.

  5. I lived in Jo’Berg until shortly after the elections and loved it. The level of crime was high but avoidable if wits were kept about one. The country has gone down hill in every way since then and it’s sad thing to see. If there is a single bit of wisdom that can be said of the current South Africa, it is that nothing has been made better. Mandela’s dream has turned into a corrupt mess exemplified by the likes of Jacob Zuma, their recent President. The ANC are corrupt clowns who have betrayed every trust that was ever extended to them. Having exhausted the patience and generosity of democratic countries who once put their faith in them, the ANC has currently aligned itself with Putin’s Russia.