Story by Joseph Tua, Nancy Ikate. Photos by Joseph Tua, Paul Woodington.
MAF Pilot, Joseph Tua, shares about his day in Western Province, Papua New Guinea on the 14th of December:
So today was supposed to be a flight from Hagen down to Balimo and do a Daru shuttle and head back to Hagen. Standard. Yeah fate had other plans..
Weather was just yucky today. Lots of cloud and rain around and it was just all grey, light grey, dark grey and bleh. Anyways, we fought our way to Balimo and given the weather of the day we decided we were either gonna do the Daru shuttle or head back to Hagen right away. There wasn't enough daylight to do both with the bad weather. We called Hagen and right away they said plans had changed - there was a medevac request in Suki. Patient had to go to Daru. So that sealed the deal. We weren't going back to Hagen today. No biggie. So the plan now was to go from Balimo to Suki and then to Daru and back to Balimo.
The patient was a young man who had gone hunting with his friends. Unfortunately, one of his friends accidentally hit him with a spear right on his forehead while they were hunting. The spear was removed but sadly it went deep enough through his skull to affect his brain and completely paralyze the right side of his body. He could only move his left side. Poor guy was in pain and semi-conscious when we got to Suki.
We quickly pulled out and assembled the stretcher and had him loaded and secure in the plane. Thankfully, one of the passengers we picked up in Balimo for Daru was a doctor so he was happy to assist us today. We sat him right next to the patient so he could keep an eye on him while we flew. Weather was a bit challenging on the way to Daru but we had put on extra fuel so we did what we needed to do to get to Daru.
The ambulance arrived a little while after we landed and rushed the patient to the hospital. I really hope he will recover well and be fine.
Your prayers are appreciated.
Nancy Ikate, MAF COM Coordinator at the Customer Service and Operations Centre, Mt Hagen, adds:
“As mentioned in the story we had a full day planned out for Joseph, plans changed in the morning with puma fuel truck not able to refuel, weather in Hagen closing in, plane departed late and Joseph was fighting weather all the way down to Balimo. And when he landed, the Balimo medevac call came and Joseph had to wait for weather to clear a bit to do the flight.
One of the grateful things that we always encounter are our already booked passengers. Most of them understand when it comes to a medevac, and they are always willing to give up their seat or travel day just so the plane can do the lifesaving flight…”