”Of my last five flights, the flight to save a small baby with severe burns means the most to me,” reported pilot Maichel.
During a funeral service at Kerabuk, a small village in the lowlands, a little baby had fallen asleep in a grass hut and rolled into the fire. The parents had gone back outside to mourn and most likely didn’t hear the baby right away due to the loud commotion and wailing associated with funerals here.
Pilot and mechanic Matt was busy doing maintenance on one of our helicopters when Lendy, one of our local staff, ran out to the hangar with the news of the emergency call. It was already late in the morning and the clouds were building really fast. The weather report from the village was good, as well as from Dekai where the hospital was located. Maichel quickly prepared all the paperwork needed to fly while Matt prepared the helicopter. They took off from Wamena and headed south flying as directly as possible. By the time they got to the lowlands, it was fully covered in clouds with no options to get below them. So they flew briefly over the loosening cloud cover until they found an opening near the village to descend and land where they had the baby ready and waiting. It was a sad sight – the little one had severe burns on both legs, his belly and one arm. They wasted no time and just loaded him and his mother into the helicopter and headed off. Due to worsening weather conditions, they were not able to fly to the hospital in Dekai and decided to take the baby to the hospital in Wamena.
”We are thankful that we were able to reach the village and bring the baby to the hospital to be cared for by doctors. However, the burns are very extensive and the risk of infection very high. When I checked on the baby later, I heard that he was alive and recovering, but not out of the danger zone yet. We hope for healing for this little boy and that one day in the future we can bring him back to his village.”
Matt and Maichel, Pilots