Medevac surprise

Medevac surprise

"It was a real blessing that when the medevac request came in, Andy Little was still in Mt. Hagen"

'Samuel Haab, our Swiss IT volunteer was recently able to accompany pilot Andy Little on a medevac (medical evacuation) to Kompiam. The Little family had just returned from leave and had planned to head back to Kawito, their outstation base, that day. But different circumstances turned this plan upside down and into a life-saving flight for a young mother, which Samuel was able to witness first hand.' - Mandy Glass

Over to Sam about his adventure!

'The plane the Little family were supposed to take back to Kawito was needed to fly elsewhere that day. Two other pilots were sick and our MAF Flight-Ops Manager, who usually deals with unexpected changes of flight schedules, had the afternoon off. It was a real blessing that when the medevac request came in, Andy Little was still in Mt. Hagen.

A mother had given birth and the baby needed to have surgery because it was partially undeveloped.

Mother with baby

I was busy in the office working on a server when David, an engineer came in and asked if I'd like to join Andy on a medevac. A bit surprised, I jumped up and followed him to the outside of the hangar, where the plane was parked. We quickly removed a few seats from the cabin while Andy was doing all the routine checks on the plane.

Just a few minutes later I was sitting in the front seat of the plane and after a short prayer, Andy started the engine and we headed off towards Kompiam. 

The weather was getting worse as we got closer to the airstrip and it was very important for us – and the little patient – to get the plane on the ground as quickly as possible. After a spectacular right turn and a steep descent we finally landed on the gravel strip of Kompiam.

Flying in bad weather

The villagers were already waiting and as soon as Andy stopped the engine, they came up to the plane. As no one had mentioned anything about twins, we were surprised that two women, who were each holding a baby wanted to board the plan. That was the first time we found out that the mother had actually given birth to twins.

Mother with baby and nurse

Luckily we had enough fuel and seats on board, so that just a few minutes later, we were up in the air again – this time with me sitting in the back with the passengers. In heavy rain but with good visibility, we finally touched down on the Mt Hagen tarmac. 

Enroute

The hospital's ambulance was already waiting for the child, which is not always guaranteed in PNG and, therefore, a real blessing. It was already getting dark when we finally left the MAF base and headed back home.

This trip made it really clear to me how important MAF’s work in Papua New Guinea is, that sometimes a flight in an MAF aircraft is a matter of life and death for the people in the remote villages scattered across this beautiful country; – And I am very pleased and happy to be a part of it!'