Takingoff with Three Passengers — Landing with Four
Story by Glenys Watson. Photos by Brad Venter
Saturday, 1 February 2020 – just after 10am, as I was sitting down enjoying a coffee with a friend, I received a call from Brad Venter, our Flight Ops Manager, with a request for a medevac. The medevac request came from a village in the Eastern Highlands Province, a 30-minute flight away from Goroka, and it was for a mother who was having difficulty in labour; she’d been labouring for two days already.
The request came via Christian Radio Mission Fellowship (CRMF), who not only install and maintain radios in villages like this one but equally importantly man the other end of the radio to assist in situations just like this one.
Providentially, on Friday we had refuelled the aircraft with plenty of fuel ‘just in case we received a medevac or some other emergency request over the weekend’. Little did we know at the time that we would need it! Within an hour I was airborne, with clear fine weather and light winds, it was a smooth flight.
I arrived at the village and the patient was ready and waiting, along with a was meri (her caregiver, who was the patient’s sister). We put her onto a stretcher from the aircraft and loaded her in. We also had one other passenger from the community who wanted to go to town.
So with the passengers secured in the aircraft, and a prayer for strength for this mama, I took off heading for Goroka where this woman could get some medical assistance. However, after being airborne for about only five minutes I heard the distinct cry of a baby. The baby had arrived at last in the skies above the Eastern Highlands Province. We decided that we should carry on to Goroka where mum and baby could be checked at the provincial haus sik (hospital).
Brad met us on landing in Goroka, and as the ambulance hadn’t arrived, we loaded her in the back of his Land Cruiser and drove to the haus sik where the staff quickly took the newborn baby to check his health and gave the mum the attention she required.
Later, Brad and his wife Michelle went to see the mum and give her some essential items for her stay in the haus sik.
I praise God for the safe arrival of this little one and being able to play a small part in it. I certainly won’t forget the time I took-off with three passengers and landed with four.