When The Only Ambulance Is A Helicopter

It is not unusual for us to receive several flight requests for so called Medevacs (Medical Evacuation Flights) following the weekend. I sort and prioritize the requests according to urgency and try to put together as efficient a flight program as possible for the next day.


This time we had four different people from four different villages. I planned a total of three flights from Wamena.

First, I flew to Homtonggo and picked up a patient who had fallen from a tree and broken his foot. After dropping the patient off at the hospital, I flew back to the base to refuel. Then I headed to Kwelena, a high mountain village 35 minutes from Wamena. I wanted to pick up a patient who was five months pregnant and had pregnancy complications. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t good enough, and we had to abort the mission. On the way home we landed in Wusarem, about 10 minutes away from our base. There, a lady was waiting for us who had been suffering from diarrhea and vomiting for a long time. As soon as she was in the helicopter, an older man came running, completely out of breath. He told us about another patient in the village next door, in Otlamisan. It was just a one-minute flight. The man was indeed very ill and no longer conscious. Fully loaded with patients, we flew back to the hospital in Wamena and from there to our base.


Meanwhile we got a message from the fourth patient. She was terminally ill and wanted to die in the village. We have to accept such decisions, albeit with a heavy heart. Days like this require a lot of flexibility. But it is also a great pleasure to be able to help people who are dependent on our assistance. I am very glad that Helimission is willing to help these people.


Micha, pilot

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