Plane diverted as Ugandan don dies on boardBy ERIASA MUKII SSERUNJOGI | Thursday, February 7 2013 at 11:53
An Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai to Dallas, US was forced to change course after Uganda's Makerere University don died on board.
Dr Warren Byabashaija, the former dean of the Faculty of Entrepreneurial Studies at Makerere University Business School (Mubs), was to attend an academic workshop at the College of Business of the Southern University in Baton Rouge
But between Dubai and Dallas, the airlines crew discovered that one of their passengers lay lifeless. The flight was diverted to New York, where local police took up the matter and the body was later taken into a health facility.
Dr Byabashaija had changed flights at Dubai to connect to US.
Before Dr Byabashaija lifted off from Uganda's Entebbe airport in a Dubai-bound Emirates flight at 3pm (+3 GMT) on February 3, his wife Jennifer, saw him off with the following words; “Peace be with you”.
Ms Byabashaija expected that in about a week’s time, her husband would come back through the same airport carrying chocolate, perfume, handbags and all sorts of presents, the type he usually brought back to her and their four children when he travelled.
Pearl, one of Dr Byabashaija’s daughters, said her father developed heart complications in November last year, but he had received treatment, which seemed to have steadied his condition.
At the beginning of the year, Pearl said, her father was “healthy and lively”.
In fact, the family had had a happy January, with Dr Byabashaija and his wife celebrating 30 years of marriage on January 29.
However, what started as a good year for the family has turned tragic.
Prof Wasswa Balunywa, Dr Byabashaija’s former boss said: “I have lost a personal friend,” adding that the dean’s death had dealt Mubs a heavy blow, particularly in the areas of doctoral studies and research, where they did not have enough personnel yet he was a “focal” person.
Prof Balunywa said he first noticed Dr Byabashaija when he taught him in the Masters in Business Administration class in the mid 1990s, before Mubs moved from Makerere University Main Campus.
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