Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)
Durban - A first time Comrades Marathon runner said the theft of his race watches from his wife’s luggage while travelling from Cape Town to Durban on a Mango flight before the race affected his run.

Guy Michel said his wife took the 2.30pm flight from Cape Town to Durban on Saturday and, because her carry-on bags were full, she packed the watches in the checked-in luggage.

“When we arrived in Pietermaritzburg, we started to unpack and we found nothing in the bag. We even checked the car and there was nothing,” he said.

“This was a mental race and this theft messed with my mind a lot, as I was aiming for sub-nine hours but luckily I did it in 9:49,” said Michel.

He said he used the watches to time himself and to monitor his heart rate.

Michel’s theft incident on a Mango flight was not an isolated event. The very next day, sentimental gifts that were given to a 13-year-old boy for Eid were stolen out of his bag.

The boy’s father Mohammed Ismail said his son was on his way back from Johannesburg on a Mango flight from OR Tambo International Airport to King Shaka International Airport.

Ismail said when they sat down to have breakfast at the airport his wife noticed the string from a “hoodie” sticking out of his bag.

“The lock was not on the bag and his stuff was ruffled. Two perfumes were taken and his toiletry bag was open,” he said.

Mango Airlines said this was a common issue that affected all airlines. Airline spokesperson and general manager of operations Noelan Rungasamy said to minimise theft, Mango’s terms and conditions of carriage clearly stated that it does not take liability for valuable items.

He said during check-in, agents asked whether there were valuables in the luggage and if so, guests were asked to remove them. He said Mango took theft seriously and, upon request, the airline would work with the police.

The Mercury