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Put yourself in others’ shoes; heroes in the sky come to rescue

  • Release Date:2016-06-23
  • Source:NASC

“Put yourself in others’ shoes” is something easy to say, but it takes a lot of empathy and courage to put it in practice. That being said, this is just something that happens almost every day to National Airborne Service Corps at the front line of disaster rescue.
Calls for rescue come in day and night and the crews are on standby 24-7. As soon as a call comes in, the helicopter of the Corps has to take off and rush to rescue in either poor weathers or pitch darkness. Mr. Fang, Chia-Yang, a senior instructor who has flown for the Corps for many years, could not agree more with this.
Remembering his career with the Corps, Mr. Fang said “completion” and “safety” are what he believes in, because danger is something that is never short of in every rescue mission. He has become used to staring at danger in the eyes. He mentioned one particular mission that he still remembered vividly. Dec 15 2014, a woman named Dai was harvesting seaweeds at Bitoujiao in the afternoon. Somewhat she slipped and twisted her right ankle. To make things worse, the winds and waves started to pick up, and she found herself not only injured but also trapped on the rock where she injured herself trying to harvest seaweeds. Wave after wave kept pounding the rock. Helpless and trapped, the poor woman was in extreme danger.
Local police, fire department and Coast Guard patrol received the report at 16:53 and sent a boat for rescue. However, the treacherous terrains and poor weather prevented the boat from closing in for rescue, and they called the National Airborne Service Corps for a helicopter to rescue the poor woman. As soon as the crew of Squadron 1, 1st Wing of the Corps stationed at Songshan Airport received request, they followed the standard procedure, checked the weathers and target area, and scrambled to take off. Fang was the pilot in command for this mission.
It was dusk when the helicopter arrived at the scene. The sea was rough and it was getting dark. The woman was trapped at a steep terrain and close to a tall cliff. It was difficult for the pilot to find a reference point for safe landing. The clock was ticking. If the sky turned pitch dark, not only would the mission become more difficult, but also flying in such a condition was utterly risky. After a short discussion, the crew decided to hoist the woman on board.
Fang was still a little terrified taking about what was going on back then. Under the double pressures of increasing darkness and poor weather, it was really difficult and dangerous to keep the aircraft steady for rescue. It took the crew a lot of efforts to successfully hoist the woman up onto the helicopter and out of danger at around 17:27. With the woman on board, the helicopter headed back to Songshan Airport where the woman was transferred to a hospital for treatment. Socked but still aware of what happened, the woman slowly described how she was harvesting seaweeds and how she got trapped. She was very grateful for the help of the rescue team.
A job well done is what every member of the Corps believes in. But in fact, it does not matter what type of mission these guys are flying. There is always a safety risk as soon as the engine starts on the helicopter and the rotor starts spinning, and the danger becomes even greater with the terrains and turbulence. One tiny mistake can lead to a catastrophe. For this, the routine training that every air crewmember has to go through becomes significantly important. Fang said with a smile on his face that sometimes, the training is even harder than the actual missions. A few minutes of rescue requires lots of hours of training, and all of these are done to make sure that the risks are minimized and that every mission is a success.
When talking about the air rescue that he has been dedicated to, Fang had nothing to say but “worthy.” In numerous missions, the National Airborne Service takes the heavy burdens, upholds the spirit of putting oneself in others’ shoes, and saves those in need from danger with their professionalism, guts, and empathy. Here, everybody deserves to be a “hero.”