03 December 2012

All Change

This is what two Mercy Air staff were expecting to be doing this last week end - except with more sweat and mud.
But a phone call at 16:00 on Friday afternoon put paid to all that. So instead the weekend ended up looking more like this...
Ten hours in the saddle in a day/night mountain bike race for Paul and Cathy was swapped for a similar amount of time in a plane at 10,000 ft. Azarja, who is one of Mercy Air's new pilots, also came along to help.

The story was that this lady way up in Mozambique had been getting progressivly more ill over the previous two weeks and had got to the stage where she needed to be bought out for some urgent medical attention. It would be unprofessional of us to say what her problem was but let's just say that we were advised to take a large bucket and a lid with us!

We didn't actually get the permit and the go-ahead till 21:00 on Friday evening so it was a bit of a rush to get ready for 05:30 the next morning. Saturday dawned dull and foggy so we were a little late taking off from the farm and had to do an instrument approach into the internatiuonal airport only 8 miles away. On the way one of the engines began running a bit too rough for our liking and so we left the plane there and drove back to get the other aircraft. To cut a long stoy short, we finally left 3 hours later that we had planned.

The weather in Moz was good and we flew over some interesting scenery near the coast on the way up to Beira.
After refueling we continued on to Mocuba...
...where the condition of the strip seems to have improved recently.
 We were greeted with the usual pomp and ceremony from the local kids...

...before taking off with the patient.
Her mission organisation had arranged for a doctor to come out to the plane at our refueling stop in Beira on the way back.
The weather was still bad in Nelspruit so our only other option was another 2h45 flight to the capital Maputo where the patient went to hospital and we ended up spending the night.
All that was left then was to return later the next day in a big cloud, landing in low vis and heavy drizzle.

So, over 1600 miles (2600 km) and 10 hours of flying but not one bike wheel turned in anger.
Mercy Air team

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