20 August 2009

The other side of the coin

As we detailed recently with the landing gear incident, things don’t always go as planned.

We like to tell of how we make a difference in southern Africa and of how peoples lives are changed for the good because of the work Mercy Air does.

I was mentally formulating another blog after the phone rang last night, asking whether we were available to transfer a man with a broken leg from Beira to Maputo in Mozambique.

I went back to the office to do a quote and fax it off to the medical company in Maputo. I also had to apply for an emergency flight permit to enter Moz as well as Air Force authority to fly in South Africa, as we are in the middle of a test week for flight restrictions around the stadia that will be used for next years footy World Cup.

A whole bunch of other things needed to be sorted out. Headsets, GPS, airport fees money, sat phone, food and drinks, blankets, survival kit, check the weather etc. I did the flight planning at home whilst having my dinner.

At nine o clock we got a call that the quote had been accepted and that the flight was definitely on. That meant bigger alterations to the plane. Seats had to be removed and a stretcher fitted but all this by torch light as the hanger has no lights. All that took time but we were in bed by 11:00.

Half past five this morning I was up again – breakfast, check the weather, when just as I was leaving the house the phone rang. It was the paramedic in Maputo saying that the patient had died during the night so the flight was off. Apparently he had two broken femurs and internal bleeding. I had expected someone with a badly broken ankle so this came as quite a shock.

All dressed up with no-where to go. The 210 this morning before taking the stretcher out.

So, no dramatic story or photos of another successful mercy mission accomplished against the odds. Just a tired head and another hour spent this morning returning the plane to normal passenger use.

You get quite psyched and focused when preparing for these last minute emergency requests. But when they are called off at the last minute you can feel very flat, especially when time hasn’t even given you a chance to help. Although uncommon, it’s just another aspect of the job that usually doesn’t usually get told.

Mercy Air team

18 August 2009

Ministry play time

We would admit that we do get to have a fair amount of fun and last week saw another opportunity for frivolity when Julian and Annie and two of their friends visited us. They are missionaries currently living in Angoche, way up in Mozambique working with the Koti people, but have to leave the country every three months to renew their visas.

This is where Mercy Air really comes in handy for many missionaries as we are an ideal place to stay whilst paperwork, meical visits, vehicles etc are sorted out. We are also in a good area to chill out and partake in some serious R n' R, which can be as refreshing as staying in bed all morning - we're told!

So, we chilled in the evenings, had some meals together, chatted, prayed a little... and then we turned our eyes to the hills.

We have a friend at a church in White River who runs the local adrenalin spot called Induna Adventures, and we arranged with him for a two hour blat around the forests on quad bikes. Considering the lifestyle in Mozambique this was a real opportunity for Julian and Annie to let their heir down.

So, ministry? - of course. Every one needs their battery's charging somehow. Fun? - need we say more!

Mercy Air team

06 August 2009

Big Enough For a Boeing

A Boeing landed at Mercy Air the other day.

We all rushed out to watch and it was quite an event, especially considering our airstrip is only 600m (1970 ft) long.

It managed with no problem at all in the end and actually only used less than 200m to land, stop and turn round. All this was possible due to the fact that it was a Boeing Stearman with a top speed of 120 mph and a landing speed of only 50 mph.

It is here for some maintenance - so we took it apart...

Mercy Air team

01 August 2009

African winter

Africa is normally hot, and often very hot.

Every now and then small parts of it get quite cool - almost cold.

When that happens where we live we have to take appropriate action, usually in the form of a pickup full of wood - or two, from the local sawmill.

What doesn't get consumed by the fire in an effort to keep us toasty in the evenings, often runs a danger of getting turned into something else useful.

Mercy Air team

Similar in a very different way

A recent BBC article:


and a interestingly similar one from this blog:


One of 14 that escaped - but he was one of almost 4000.

Mercy Air team