Nairobi News

HashtagWhat's Hot

Bungoma ‘James Bond’ dies after short illness


The Bungoma man who gained national fame for hanging on a flying chopper has died.

Mr Saleh Wanjala, 45, on Monday passed away while undergoing treatment at Bungoma County Referral Hospital, according to his family.

A family member, who confirmed his death, said Wanjala passed on shortly after he was admitted to the medical facility.

“He was found unconscious in his house and then taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead,” the family member said.

His body was taken to Bungoma County Referral Hospital mortuary.

The late Wanjala made a name for himself in May 2016 by hanging on a chopper that was ferrying the body of slain businessman, Jacob Juma, as it flew away from Bungoma’s Posta grounds.

Saleh Wanjala, (left) moments after he was rescued at Bungoma's Airstrip on May 13, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY
Saleh Wanjala, (left) moments after he was rescued at Bungoma’s Airstrip on May 13, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY

ENDANGERING HIS LIFE

Mr Wanjala hung onto the helicopter up to the Bungoma Airstrip before jumping off as it was about to land.

For his dare-devil stunt, Kenyans online likened him to famous British film actor, ‘James Bond’.

He was arrested after the incident and charged for endangering his life but later released.

A few weeks later, a local businessman, Joseph Waswa, through his Lendrix Foundation, fulfilled Wanjala’s dreams of flying.

Waswa airlifted the father of four after he purchased tickets for him and 11 members of his family, including his wife and mother.

Mr Saleh Wanjala handcuffed to his hospital bed at Bungoma Referral Hospital after he was arrested for endangering his life during the May 2016 incident. PHOTO | COURTESY
Mr Saleh Wanjala handcuffed to his hospital bed at Bungoma Referral Hospital after he was arrested for endangering his life during the May 2016 incident. PHOTO | COURTESY

DREAM COME TRUE

Wanjala landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) aboard a Kenya Airways flight.

He was later escorted by a convoy of cars to Dennis Pritt Lounge along State House road, where friends and family were waiting.

Wanjala described his experience on the flight as amazing, saying that it was a dream come true for him and that he would give anything to have the experience again.

“I enjoyed services on the plane. The staff were friendly and served us drinks. It was worth it. I dreamt of boarding a plane and I thank Waswa for making it possible for me. I feel honoured,” he said then.

A video game was later created and named the Bungoma Hangman.