Sun May 12, 2019 7:44 pm #1693023
A translated article from the Belgium press.
What those emergency services have done borders on the incredible. They risked their own lives to save us. "
British-Belgian pilot Sam Rutherford has crawled through the ice in Canada. The plane with which he and his friend Alan wanted to fly back to England crashed against the wall of a steep slope in northern Canada. It took seven hours for the emergency services to reach the site of the crash. “I was incredibly lucky. Thanks to my wife, who sent Canadian help teams out of Brussels, I survived. ”His friend Allen died shortly after the rescue operation.
“Suddenly there was that blow, from nowhere. No warning signal, no cries from my friend at the control stick. Nothing. Baf. Done. ”Sam Rutherford (47), a British pilot who is married to a Belgian and lives in Brussels, can still retell it. Not his friend Alan Simpson (73). The man died on the way to the hospital.
“I've known Alan for a few years, we both love flying. He had bought a new airplane, a single-engine aircraft, in West Virginia, America. We would pick it up together and fly it back to Shropshire in England, where he lives. "
The first part of that flight went well, but an hour after they took off in Goose Bay, Canada, things went wrong, Rutherford says. “I still don't know what exactly happened. We were on our way to Greenland to make the crossing to England. Alan was behind the control stick, I was working on my laptop. The weather was not exceptionally bad. It was snowing, but in Northern Canada that is not exceptional. ”And then there was that blow.
"We were both unconscious for a moment, I think. When I recovered, I saw that Alan was not moving, but still breathing. I immediately put an emergency blanket over him in a reflex to keep him warm. The plane was on the flank of a steep hill. I first tried to open the door. That was impossible, the snow was too thick. I started to pry at the emergency door, but realized that was not a good idea. It was warm inside and outside and it was snowing and freezing. "
Only then did he realize that he was also wounded. “Blood everywhere. My ankles and knees were broken, my left shoulder was bleeding - the seat belt had been sanded right through my clothes, I had my head slammed against the dashboard and my chest against the control stick. I was in pain. ”
Woman helps from Brussels
Contacting the outside world was hardly possible. Everything crashed due to the crash, says Sam. “Fortunately I had my satellite channel with me. A handy thing with which I always send messages to my wife, because my job often makes me far away from home. ”He told her that the plane had crashed somewhere in Northern Canada, on the Labrador Peninsula, with the coordinates there. "My wife then alerted the Canadian emergency services from Brussels."
But the crash site, near Makkovik, was very difficult to reach. At that time there was also a heavy snowstorm, so that the rescue helicopter could not take off. The Canadians then left with snowmobiles for the plane. “In the meantime, my wife kept me constantly informed. That the rescuers had left, that they were on their way, how long it would take. Unbelievable what she has done to help us. "
Seven hours after the crash, Canadian emergency services arrived at the wreck with their snowmobiles, says Sam. “In the meantime it had become terribly cold. Alan was still not conscious. I had found a few more blankets that I laid on him and crawled underneath. When I heard the voices of the rescue team, I was incredibly happy. "
Alan and Sam were both tied on a rescue sled. After a three-hour journey, they arrived in Makkovik. “What those emergency services have done borders on the incredible. They risked their own lives to save us, because the weather was hellish, "says Sam.
Breast bone broken
Unfortunately, Alan couldn't help anymore. “When we arrived in that town, he died. His injuries were too bad and it took too long before we could be saved. Nobody can do anything about it, without the rescue team I probably wouldn't be there either. ”
In the hospital, the doctors diagnosed various bruises and deep flesh wounds with Sam. "The pain was bad. Certainly on my chest. Breathing was very painful. Logical, the doctors said. My breastbone was broken due to the impact on the control stick during the crash. ”
Sam stayed in a Canadian hospital until Sunday morning. He took the plane to Brussels last night to be able to recover at home. “All in all, my injuries are not too bad, nothing that time cannot heal. But my friend Alan is dead.
Levis Sed Non Parvus