Pilot Paul Woodington, currently assisting with flights there, wrote about events on voting day:
‘I had just received a security text message from the UN to stay indoors when we received a call to transport six people from the mountains into Dili so that they could vote. The heavy rains had damaged the roads.
'Timorese people take their voting very seriously. I did not want them to think that MAF had let them down in any way, so I took on the flight. I had to duck under the clouds in between the mountains to get there, and the return flight was bumpy. Nevertheless, they were able to get their vote in and the whole election so far has been peaceful – praise God.’
However, the following day, an urgent flight request came through for a teenage girl severely burned all over her body after the house she was sleeping in caught fire.
When she was loaded on, covered with bandages and in a critical state, Paul shares, ‘I thought I would have my first death in flight.’ She was quickly flown to Dili and transported to the hospital, still alive.
Paul states, ‘Helping this poor girl reinforced my commitment to the work MAF does in East Timor and around the world. She would have surely died on any road transport.’
Mission Aviation Fellowship
Castle Hill Avenue, FOLKESTONE, CT20 2TN UK, Tel: 0845 850 9505
Registered Charity Number 1064598 (England & Wales) and SC039107 (Scotland)