Not a member? Join today. Already a member? Please login for an enhanced experience. Login Now
Menu

TV special highlights dramatic Haiti rescue missionsTV special highlights dramatic Haiti rescue missions

Parachute drops from a C-47 kicked off a mission to provide help to a remote Haitian village.
Parachute drops from a C-47 kicked off a mission to provide help to a remote Haitian village.
Photo courtesy of NBC.

When the January 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster cut off victims in a village far from roads, medical care and clean water, a volunteer group based in Tennessee had the unique resources to get help where it was so urgently needed.

And although one of the logistical challenges was that there was no airport nearby, well, that’s no longer the case.

Some astonishing—and courageous—acts of service to humanity by those volunteer pilots, doctors, dentists, and support workers made for dramatic television viewing on Jan. 9 as NBC reported on the work being done in Haiti by Remote Area Medical, a foundation whose volunteers fly aircraft from single-engine airplanes to a C-47/DC-3 that saw action in World War II.

On the anniversary of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake, the call still goes out to pilots with aircraft and a desire to rally to the cause.

“Pilots are required on many RAM expeditions. We need the services of those who own their own plane and are willing to donate their services. If you are a pilot, have your own plane, and are willing to help out with expeditions, both domestic and abroad, please contact us. We have a great need for your services,” says an appeal on the organization’s website.

That same goes out to the professionals whose services are crucial on the ground. Doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and the support people with whom they could not effectively function are all in demand, as RAM founder Stan Brock emphasizes on the site.

The NBC special “Rescue in the Mountains” chronicled RAM’s efforts in early December to bring live-saving aid to a village barely reached since the earthquake, its problems exacerbated by cases of cholera.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Parachute drops from the DC-3 started the mission, followed up by a medical team—sponsored by an Arlington, Va., church—arriving on a newly opened road. Next, volunteers went to work and hacked a 1,500-foot airstrip out of the rocky terrain. Brock, familiar to TV viewers as former co-host of NBC’s series “Wild Kingdom” who spent many years living in remote Amazon rain forest, weeks from towns or health care, is shown making the strip’s first arrival in a tundra-tire-equipped airplane.

Knoxville, Tenn.-based RAM needs qualified DC-3, Beech 18, King Air C-90, and Cessna 206 pilots to serve in the all-volunteer organization. Volunteers must be able to fund their own participation; the rewards for doing so are incalculable.

A Maule lands at the 1,500-foot airstrip that volunteers hacked out of the rocky terrain to provide access to a remote Haitian village.
A Maule lands at the 1,500-foot airstrip that volunteers hacked out of the rocky terrain to provide
access to a remote Haitian village. Photo courtesy of NBC.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is 30-year AOPA member.

Related Articles