Unity Airlines mercy flight helps save lives

By Josepheen Tarianga

The Unity Airline plane arrived back in Port Vila at night, where an ambulance was waiting.By Josepheen Tarianga

Unity Airline’s mercy flight has helped saved the lives of two pregnant mothers on Tanna.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unity Airlines, Tony Deamer informed the Daily Post that during the period of the Aviation gas shortage, Unity Airlines had gotten word that two women needed to be medically evacuated. In the weeks in which Unity Airlines had no flights due to the shortage, the company scrounged up enough fuel for the medevac.

Lenakel hospital Medical officer, Dr. Geraldine Nimissa said the flight that took place on the 13th of September. Anna Kaim, a 30-year-old mother and 40-year-old Susan Jonas would not have survived if they had remained at Lenakel Hospital.

Dr. Nimissa reported that it was later discovered at the Vila Central Hospital (VCH) that Anna had an intraabdominal pregnancy and she was continuously losing blood and bleeding internally.

Delivery was impossible for Susan Jonas as the baby lied transversely and keeping them at the Lenakel hospital would have put both mother and baby’s life at risk

“If Anna was kept overnight at Lenakel hospital she would not have made it, but at VCH she was immediately taken to theatre and it was a long operation,” Dr. Nimissa said.

“The patient is well and is slowly recovering post operation. Susan is awaiting a cesarean section later on this week.”

According to CEO Deamer, the Mercy flight was arranged by Dr. Nimissa, working with the Ministry of Health (MOH). The flights to Tanna usually are one hour each way. In this case, the approval from MoH came in very late in the day, normally Unity Airline flights would not have left so late.

“The fuel shortage in Vila meant we had to refill the aircraft on Tanna from a drum of fuel, before we could put the two mothers to be and a nurse on the plane to come back to Vila,” the CEO said.

“We departed Tanna just a few minutes before the last flight on the day,” says Mr Deamer. The Tanna runway has no lighting.

Dr. Nimissa and the Lenakel Hospital greatly appreciated the work Unity airlines had done, resulting in saving the lives of the women and their babies. The Dr. highly recommended the airline.

The Chief Pilot of Unity Airline, Sebastien Lamoureux said Unity airlines was happy to use their last stock of fuel at the time to save lives as both cases were deemed urgent.

“Unity Airlines is delighted to have been able to assist which resulted in a happy ending. Our thoughts went towards people living on islands outside of our coverage areas who needed urgent care before the fresh stock of AVGAS had arrived,” he said.