Mercy flying in Botswana

Submitted by Pete Weiseth:

The couple were sleeping peacefully in their tent.  They had camped in Chobe National Park several times before, and their experience gave them great respect for the wildlife around them – particularly elephant, which are found here in the greatest concentration of anywhere in Africa. Nothing prepared them for what was to happen next.

At about 5:30 in the morning, they started to hear the rustling, breaking branches, and heavy footfalls of an elephant herd approaching.  With no discernible provocation, one elephant became suddenly agitated, trumpeting and stamping very close to the campers huddled silently together in the pre-dawn light.  Suddenly a tusk came through the wall of the tent, pierced the lady’s back, and lifted her off of the ground.  In shock, neither husband nor wife was able to move before one of the elephant’s legs crushed the side of the tent, quickly followed by another tusk which this time completely impaled her.

I was sitting in the Flying Mission office on flight standby when the call came.  We knew that with the level of medical facilities available in the town of Kasane, we would have to be as fast as possible in getting advanced care to the patient, and just as fast in transporting her to the hospital in Johannesburg.  We launched, with a doctor and a medic on board, and after a two hour flight had Doc and Colin busy stabilizing her and preparing her for the flight south.  When they returned from the Kasane hospital, we were fueled and ready to load her and her husband onto the aircraft.

When we have patients on board, we use the radio callsign “Mercy One.”  This tells the traffic controllers and other aircraft that we require a clear route ahead, with no delays to our flight because of its critical medical status.  Upon our safe arrival in Johannesburg, the husband shook our hands, saying in his broken English, “You are called Mercy One. That is a good name. Thank you for showing us mercy today.”

I am thankful that the Lord has given Flying Mission the ability to translate, in some small way, the deep mercy He has shown us into mercy for others.