Helicopter Tales - GLand Incident

Posted by Rick / on 10/01/2008 / 0 Comments


The recent near death experience of an Aussie surfer at G-Land sheds some light on the pros and cons of medivac insurance. The surfer (no name available) turned his back on a 10 ft Impossibles grinder and straddled his board. The impact crushed him into his board which acted like an sea anchor and he literally tore his pelvis apart. The Doctors that later got to see the XRays were talking about a 3 inch separation and the internal damage and bleeding that resulted from this massive impact could have easily killed the man. It was a close thing. 

Within minutes of the accident, the surfer was assisted to the beach in complete agony. The camp medical volunteer (a South African doctor) described the pain level as 10/10. After morphine injections and oral pain killers, the patient was moved to shade on a beach sofa (there were no stretchers available) and his insurers were called. After 2 hours of fruitless calls it became clear that no helicopter was available. The only helicopter operator in the area advised that all their choppers were booked on tourism flights and that the earliest possible flight would be the next day. 

Two doctors in attendance conferred and decided that the surfer would almost certainly not make it that long so a vehicle was secured and a marathon overland journey followed over very rough roads. The pain and suffering associated with this drive can only be half imagined. Shots of morphine were administered at regular intervals. At an East Java hospital XRays confirmed the doctors worst fears and finally a helicopter was secured for the 20 minute flight back to Denpasar. The surfer survived but the incident has caused a rethink for the G-Land operators. They are considering a substantial price hike to reduce crowding in the water and they have committed to the construction of an infirmary to deal with future incidents better.

In the Mentawai's we have no access to a fleet of tourism helicopters. The ONLY option we have is Dr Derek's R22.... once we get it flying again.

For a full audio log of the G-Land incident, click on: http://www.realsurf.com/special/Marcus%20interview%2021%20sept%202008%208mb%20(1).mp3


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