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EXPOSED: Bungoma chopper man’s alleged troubled life

The Nairobi News has been able to reconstruct the chain of events that saw a man who hanged on a chopper in Bungoma land safely on the ground albeit with minor injuries.

The man, 41-year-old Saleh Wanjala, spoke exclusively to Nairobi News from his hospital bed at the Bungoma Referral Hospital.

The resident of Mashambani area, Bungoma town, had on Friday morning rushed to the Posta Grounds to witness the arrival of the body of slain businessman Jacob Juma from Nairobi.


Mr Wanjala, who has since been branded Kenya’s dumbest man, claims that one of his leg got stuck on the chopper’s tabular landing skids as he stood next to the helicopter to have an uninhibited view of its interior.

And as he tried to free himself, the helicopter began taking off. He says he was then forced to hang on the landing skids for his dear life.

Saleh Wanjala, 41, (left) moments after he was rescued at Bungoma's airstrip on May 13, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY
Saleh Wanjala, 41, (left) moments after he was rescued at Bungoma’s airstrip on May 13, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY

The pilot of the chopper eventually got wind of his ‘hanging passenger’ from the public that was waving frantically on the ground. He steered the aircraft away from tall objects, including trees and a storey building under construction, and headed for the Bungoma’s airstrip.

A quick thinking ambulance driver on the ground followed him in tow with sirens blaring.

At the airstrip, the pilot managed to lower the helicopter to a level where the man could jump off.


Poor but lucky Wanjala landed awkwardly, injuring his hip joint and elbow. He also sustained a cut on the eyebrow.

The ambulance rushed him to the Bungoma Referral Hospital where he was treated for the cuts. Doctors admitted him, insisting on observing him overnight.

One of the doctors told Nairobi News that Mr Wanjala reeked of alcohol when he arrived at the hospital.

But Mr Wanjala’s life is a tale of misfortune. His first wife died and his second wife left him. And out of his six children, only one is alive, a 17-year-old boy.

Police have recorded his statement on the incident.