Overnight In The Bush

Helimission coordinated a 5-day mission with various organizations to a remote area of Madagascar. A total of 10 people, including a team of three doctors, and various material had to be flown into the rainforest.

MAF transported the passengers with their caravan to the nearest airstrip. I flew them and the material from there to the bush village of Antanambao. The weather was fine, and all the passengers arrived in the village after 11 am. Immediately the medical team set up a simple “bush clinic” in a hut and started doing consultations. Meanwhile, a team took care of the people who were waiting, encouraged them and also conducted a children’s program.

The village of Antanambao is one of the larger villages in this region of the rainforest with about 2,500 inhabitants. The visit by the medical team was announced in advance and therefore people from all over the area came to be treated. In addition to the medical team, a dentist took care of dental problems. On this afternoon alone, a total of more than 50 treatments were carried out. The next day I took a team to another village where they offered consultations and distributed medicine to sick people.

On missions like this, which involve staying in the bush for several days, we as pilots usually sleep in the helicopter, as was the case this time. Shortly before midnight I was rudely awakened and noticed that someone was trying to climb onto the helicopter. Behind the windshield I could see the outline of a figure and because I had been very startled, I screamed loudly at the person. This obviously shocked them, and they quickly ran off.  I searched the area with my flashlight, but I could not find anybody. To this day I do not know what the intentions of this person were.

Nick, Pilot