This week our community here experienced tragedy once again. On Wednesday, a mission pilot had an accident on take-off from his grass strip on the outskirts of town. A call went out to MAF immediately and Hugo and his expat coworkers sped to the scene only knowing that there had been an accident and the plane was on fire. They arrived just as the final survivor was pulled from the wreckage, to the news that the pilot and one passenger had not survived. Hugo and the guys jumped into action and immediately began to spray the smoking engine with their extinguishers and request bystanders to get water. Then there was a moment of panic when they thought there may still be a passenger in the plane as there was one passenger unaccounted for. The guys were checking inside when a bystander confirmed that that passenger had been brought to the local hospital (thankfully located literally around the corner from the airstrip) immediately following the accident. Shortly after, the local fire trucks, police and SAR arrived. Unsure of what to do, they relied on our guys to tell them what to do. There was very little crowd control and many people were taking photographs. The guys were able to get the engine cooled off, and Hugo removed the avionics system and engine monitoring equipment. Once they engine was cooled off enough they were able to move it off the bridge where it had stopped.
Hugo knew Bob from helping him with avionics installs and trouble-shooting. Their paths had crossed quite often. I did not know Bob well but it was he who had pulled Aidan’s baby eye teeth a couple months ago. Bob was one of those men who seemed to have endless time and energy. He was always able to help and his love and care for the local people was evident in the numbers who came to his funeral to pay their last respects. It seemed as though there were over 1,000 people in attendance. We will remember his family in our prayers as they deal with the reality of life without their father, husband and grandfather.