January 13, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Missionary Flights International (MFI) is joining forces with Samaritan’s Purse to begin earthquake relief flights to Haiti Jan. 13, using the MFI Douglas DC–3 aircraft. Since the airport in Port-au-Prince has been damaged, the aircraft must first go to Cap-Haïtien to clear customs. Airlines have canceled flights to Port-au-Prince.
AOPA Pilot reporters flew with MFI in 2003 to the city of Cap-Haïtien in the northern part of the country and wrote a story on the experience. The group is asking for donations to pay for aircraft fuel. The Web site features the latest reports on the situation in Haiti. There is concern that two students are missing at a Bible school that was damaged by the earthquake.
Initial supplies include water purification kits, tarps, and medical supplies, including blankets and towels. A missionary on a two-week work team has been injured and will be flown out on the return trip today to Fort Pierce, Fla. Work teams enter and leave the country routinely to help on construction and engineering projects, as reported in the 2003 Pilot article. They will also transport Samaritan’s Purse personnel.
More flights are planned for Thursday and the rest of the week. Those flights will include additional medical supplies from Band-Aids to larger bandages. An assessment team is entering the country this week to determine the magnitude of the injuries and damages. The American Red Cross estimates there could be as many as 50,000 people killed in the earthquake.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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