Medevac 2: Snake bite
MAF pilot Jason Marsh was the one to receive the medevac call.
A young boy, Naha, had suffered a snake bite in a village called Owena. This would be a difficult medevac as any presence of wind means they would not be able to land. It is one of the steepest (12.5% slope) and shortest strips (380m) our pilots go into so it is imperative the weather is co-operative.
As they were flying, they were praying furiously that the little boy would be able to hang on until they were able to get him to a hospital and that the wind would remain calm and the airstrip clear for landing.
As they touched down and rumbled their way up to the top of the airstrip, people came from all directions to meet the plane. As quickly as possible, cargo was pulled off the plane that had been waiting in Goroka to go out to the people at Owena and the plane was made ready for the sick little boy and the carer who would be going with him.
As the preparations were made, they were able to briefly catch up with the missionary who has been working with the people in this area for nearly 30 years. Naha, the snake’s victim, cheated the usual outcome of a death adder’s bite. He was lucky that it struck his finger and therefore the poison did not make its way into the blood stream quickly.
For that reason and because MAF could respond so quickly, the little boy was able to be flown out to amain centre to receive successful treatment. Naha’s life was saved.