Pilot Becki lifting stab victim

In the heart of Chad, an unexpected emergency call tested the agility and dedication of the MAF team. On January 20th, what began as a routine flight from N’Djamena to Sarh turned into a life-saving mission.

Aboard the flight were two ACRA representatives and three Swiss team members working with the Chadian Apostolic Church. An hour into their journey, pilot Becki Dillingham received an urgent medevac request through the plane’s messaging system. A 36-year-old woman in a remote village had been critically injured in a stabbing incident.

Calculations were quickly made for a diversion that would add an hour to their flight. Becki had to ensure there was sufficient fuel and hours for this unplanned detour. Realising the gravity of the situation, Becki addressed her passengers: “I’m sorry that instead of being in N’Djamena in one hour, 30 minutes, we will be delayed.” The passengers understood, and with their blessing, the Cessna Caravan took off again, this time towards the injured woman.

Upon reaching the village, Scott Downing, an American who lives there with his family, helped refuel the plane and coordinate getting the patient aboard. The woman’s injuries were severe - she had a stab wound in her chest, multiple bruises on her upper body, facial injuries and a broken arm. Ground transportation was out of the question as it would put her through unbearable pain due to the bumpy journey and potentially delay her much-needed treatment.

The MAF flight was her only lifeline to reach N’Djamena hospital swiftly and comfortably. Using an emergency stretcher from their pod, Becki and Scott carefully loaded the woman onto the plane. As Becki explained later: “We would normally fit a more comfortable stretcher into the aircraft but as this was diverted en-route rather than planned, we had to use the emergency stretcher we always carry.”

With everything in place and after one final round of checks, they took off once again heading back to N’Djamena with their precious cargo.

As another hectic day came to an end for MAF’s team in Chad, they could take solace in knowing that they had saved another life from tragedy. This mission underscored how vital their service is in remote areas where medical emergencies can turn fatal without timely intervention.

If you would like MAF to continue doing this great work and help save more lives, please donate now by visiting https://www.maf-uk.org/flyforlife