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Special Flight Carries the Ambulance

Published Oct 8, 2008

Caribou arrives to pick up the "Puppy Truck"
Caribou arrives at Nadzab/Lae Airport—notice the open window on top—added visibility!
Back it in
The crew watch as John tries to line it up.
The hard part
John gives up and lets the professionals do the job.
It fits!
Everybody’s homework pays off, and the “puppy truck” gets swallowed whole by the “big-dawg” airplane.
Time to Unload
Turned sideways, the Caribou is almost as long as the airstrip is wide!  Here, the truck has arrived at the place where trucks never leave.
Kameans Thank the Crew
Three men representing the Kamea Tribe presented the crew with gifts—bows, arrows, and a traditional stone ax.
Caribou Takes Off
The DHC-4 Caribou takes off after leaving the ambulance. This is the largest aircraft to land in our area ever.  (It is the second time it has visited this area, having come about 20 years ago.)  Most of the people in our area have never been this close to such a large airplane.
Making the BIG turn
About a half a mile off the end of the runway looms a ridge that has claimed too many airplanes already.  As procedure, all piston powered aircraft now turn inside that ridge instead of trying to outclimb it.  Here, the Caribou makes that turn, and shows us how big it really is!
The Ambulance arrives in Kotidanga
Now we can carry several patients at one time.  Also, if need be, the patient can lie down.  We let the kids load up for a picture.  One last thing—notice the kid in the foreground with the very sharp knife…I wonder who might be the first one to go for a ride might be?

In late July 2008, the Australian Defense Force carried our small ambulance from the coast up into the Kamea region for us. They used their DHC-4 Caribou Airplane and loaded it with just inches to spare.  John and Selina purchased this Daihatsu Hijet (a “Kei Truck” from Japan) in the USA, and shipped it by container to Lae. The Australians, in a very gracious manner, donated their time, fuel, and efforts in helping us with this humanitarian airlift.  (Special thanks to them!)