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I'm not surprised, Capt. Ronald Karauri on wife Ruth's heroic Heathrow landing

Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri and wife Ruth Karauri. [Courtesy]

Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri is a proud husband, deservedly so.

His pride is as a result of his wife Captain Ruth Karauri's act of bravery, skill and valour during a raging Storm Eunice at Heathrow Airport, London on Friday, February 18.

With a 200,000-kg plane to steer, tens of lives on her shoulders, and the reputation of Kenya Airways at stake, Ruth did not disappoint. 

A day before the heroic landing, UK’s meteorological service had issued a poor weather alert, warning that the winds would cause significant disruption, particularly in the aviation sector.

As other planes scheduled for landing at the Heathrow Airport delayed their touchdown time due to Storm Eunice, Captain Ruth chose to exhibit courage and agility.

And “like a boss”, she landed with skill, and taxied to safety on the Heathrow runway.

Ruth’s spouse, Ronald Karauri, says that that act did not catch him by surprise.

“I'm not surprised at all by how she landed at Heathrow with a lot of skill. I trust her capabilities,” Ronald told The Standard.

The SportPesa Chief Executive Officer says he is, nonetheless, very proud of his wife.

“I am proud of her. She has always been a very good pilot,” he said.

Ronald revealed that Ruth has been flying for 20 years now.

“She did Kenya Airways ab initio from the year 2002,” he said.

Captain Ruth Karauri attributes her laudable expertise to proper training at Kenya Airways.

“There were strong, gusting winds [at Heathrow Airport on Friday, February 18], and the ride was quite bumpy.

However, the training I had at Kenya Airways, especially the flight simulator training, prepared me for such a scenario,” Ruth told Kenya Airways in a video published on the airline’s Facebook page.

A flight simulator is any electronic or mechanical system for training aeroplane and spacecraft pilots and crew members by simulating flight conditions, hence preparing the pilots to fly in challenging weather conditions.

Captain Ruth was at the cockpit with First Officer Ayoob Harunany during the touchdown at Heathrow on Friday.

"Ayoob and I used all our training, expertise and skills acquired at Kenya Airways. That enabled us to land expertly,” she said.

The heroic Heathrow touchdown earned Ruth and Ayoob praise from Kenya and beyond.

Another celebrated KQ female pilot, Irene Koki Mutungi, said: “[I’m] so proud of you Ruth Karauri! [You] handled it (challenging airport condition) as ladies do. Girls fly.”

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Governor Patrick Njoroge said: “You’ve seen the videos of planes struggling to land at LHR (London Heathrow Airport) yesterday (February 18) with Storm Eunice. The exception was KQ’s Capt. Ruth Karauri who landed the [Boeing] 787 like a boss! Congrats, captain, and First Officer Ayoob Harunany.

The UK’s High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariott said on Twitter: “Hongera Capt. Ruth Karauri on the successful landing during Storm Eunice!”

Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma also took to the microblogging site to laud Ruth. She said: “Kudos, Ruth Karauri. You and the first officer are stars!”

Tony Sisule, a Geneva-based traveller, who has, on several occasions, been aboard a KQ plane flown by Captain Ruth Karauri, said: “Ruth Karauri is very skilful. I barely noticed I’m on a plane, devoid of any bumps, the many times she flew me on Kenya Airways, especially on West African routes. Congratulations to the captain, the first officer and crew [for a safe landing at Heathrow Airport].”