Paul Robert Speijer died at the age of 42 on 30th January 2000 when the Kenya,Airways flight KQ431 from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast to Lagos in Nigeria plunged into the Bay of Benin shortly after take-off. Together with him, 178 other passengers died including the leader of the banana program of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dirk Vuylsteke a Belgian citizen, and the East African Highland banana breeder of IITA, John Hartmann, a citizen of the United States. John was married to Miriam Kaplan, also a nematologist. The body of Paul was not recovered. He left behind his wife Nicole Smit, a son and two daughters.