It was an emotional account of her last conversation with her husband.
On Tuesday, the wife of Inspector Joshua Tonkei, Internal Security Minister George Saitoti’s personal security officer who died with him in a helicopter crash on Sunday, said she spoke to him about two hours before the accident.
“I called him at around 7.30am to tell him he had left his other mobile phone at home,” she said. “He told me to either switch it off or receive his calls,” Mrs Tonkei said.
But a little later, their son, Joseph Tonkei, became the first to suspect that all was not well when he saw an update on social media while browsing on his mobile phone.
“I saw an update on Twitter of a helicopter crash and I replied to it, asking for details,” he said. “She tweeted back, saying it was breaking news on TV.
“But I prepared for the worst an hour later after the TV broadcast that Prof Saitoti was involved,” he said. (READ: Kenyan ministers killed in chopper crash)
Mother and son gave their accounts on Monday at their Highridge home in Nairobi when the Nation visited.
A few blocks away, relatives were mourning the death of Sgt Thomas Murimi, Insp Tonkei’s colleague.
His widow Leah Murimi said when her husband left home at 7am, he was not sure whether he would travel with the minister. “He told me that he would be back because probably there wouldn’t be enough space to take everybody on board,” she said.
“I hoped he would come back so that we could go to church.” But later, she said, he sent an SMS saying he was on the helicopter so I should go to church,” she told the Nation.
She learnt of her husband’s death through TV broadcasts. “I called his phone, and there was a tone suggesting that the line was busy.
“I tried several times and the line went dead; it was out of reach. I then called one of his colleagues. He did not give me the bad news immediately until he came to the house later,” Mrs Murimi said.
Sgt Murimi is survived by two sons, Nicholas Chacha who is in Form One at Kakamega High School and Nicholas Nkoya, a pupil at Spring Valley Academy.
And Supt Luke Oyugi’s wife, Patricia, said they last spoke on Saturday when she went to visit their second-born at school.
“He did not tell me that he was to fly dignitaries the following day, but I got concerned when someone called and told me to watch the breaking news,” she said.
Supt Oyugi joined the GSU before being transferred to the airwing; between 2002 and 2005, he trained at the Kenya School of Flying before he joined the Kenya Air Force where he trained further as a helicopter pilot. Last year, he attended a specialised pilot training in Ukraine.
Police Supt Nancy Gituanja was the pilot of the chopper that went down in Ngong Forest, killing Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and assistant minister Orwa Ojodeh.
She is survived by her husband Peter Gitau and three children aged eight, five and two. Ms Gituanja’s sister Grace Mugure described her as a staunch Christian who was saved when she was in Standard Eight.
On Tuesday, the government announced it would set up a fund to help the families of police officers killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, accompanied by police commissioner Mathew Iteere, on Tuesday led ministers in consoling the families.
At Supt Gituanja’s home, the VP, told mourners: “We are with you at this trying moment and what happened was beyond anybody’s control. We shall ensure her departure will not cause the children not to continue with their education. Other needs will also be catered for.”
A few blocks away, at police residential houses at the newly completed West Park estate near Wilson Airport, Mr Musyoka also visited the home of Supt Luke Oyugi, who was Ms Gituanja’s co-pilot.
Mr Iteere also visited Presidential Escort Units’ residences in Highridge to console the families of Insp Joshua Tonkei and Sgt Murimi.