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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Landmine Incident


THE LANDMINE INCIDENT
We were minding our own business and heading for our Airfield FAF 8 when the radio suddenly burst into life and the local relay station Oscar Alpha 3 came onto the net relaying a call from a Bailiff (Police) call sign Bluebell 33 alpha who had just struck a boosted landmine in his Crocodile (a mine protected Isuzu) near Birchenough Bridge which was about thirty nautical miles to the East of the present track of our G Car. Nigel my pilot listened to the chatter for a while and put the G Car into a climb to get better communications with both Oscar Alpha 3 and Bluebell 33 alpha.
After a while we heard Bluebell 33 alpha calling us, the signal was about strength three and fairly distorted by static but we could make out what he was saying. The vehicle had been moving a number of civilians to a Keep in the area and had struck a boosted landmine on the road, they needed assistance fast as there were injured, dying and dead people spread all over the area as the vehicle had rolled after hitting the mine spilling its occupants into the surrounding bush.
Nigel did a quick fuel calculation and decided to set course directly to the incident area asking Oscar Alpha 3 to relay his intentions to FAF 8. After we set a heading Nigel remained in contact with Bluebell 33 alpha getting his loc stat and attempting to find out how many casualties we had to deal with. At this time we were flying at low level with the Mopani trees below making a swishing noise as we swept overhead, it felt as if I could touch the foliage with my feet if I wished to do so.
As we approached Bluebell 33 alpha’s loc stat Nigel climbed into a high orbit above the scene so that we could clear the area of any lurking terrorists and to assess the situation. As we looked down we could see the smoking wreckage of the Crocodile lying on its side alongside a gravel murram road with both its front wheels blown off. There was some movement around the vehicle with bodies lying strewn everywhere; it looked like a real mess.
After clearing the surrounding area and making sure we were not being set up for an attack Nigel positioned the G Car to land to the west of the wrecked crocodile. We put down in a fairly clear LZ without difficulty and Nigel shut down the G Car while I jumped out unclipping my monkey-belt and pulling out our two stretchers. I ran over to a policeman who seemed to be running the show and it was obvious that he was severely shocked from the blast, there was blood coming out of his ears and I had to shout to him in order for him to understand me. I looked around me and saw people lying in all sorts of positions, some groaning with broken limbs, others obviously dead and mutilated by the force of the explosion. Fuck... fuck... what a fucking mess... I was not even trained in first aid but it was obvious that I would have to do something. By this time Nigel had shut the G Car down and had joined me, there was no time to waste we assessed who was the most seriously injured and began to apply bandages, put in a drip here and there and stem some horrific injuries. One old man was lying on his stomach and I could clearly see that his backbone had been severed; he was still alive and screaming in agony. There was no medic... shit man... I pulled out a phial of Sosegon and injected it into his neck... how the fuck am I going to move him. Nigel and I pulled out a poncho and rolled him onto it, he was screaming like a banshee in his agony. We gently set him on to a stretcher but not gentle enough, he was wailing and writhing in pain and there was nothing much I could do other than try and gently load him onto the floor of the G Car.
We moved on to other casualties, it was horrific, some had severe head injuries, an old woman it seemed had brain matter coming out of her ear and she was grinding her teeth with wildly masticating jaws, her eyes open in the horror of it all.
The policeman was in such shock his whole body seemed to convulse, his uniform was tattered and covered in dust and coagulated blood. He was of no use to us but two constables were great and set about rendering assistance where they could. We managed to get two lying stretcher cases into the G Car and three walking wounded those with shattered limbs, one man with his shin bone sticking out another with his right hand almost severed and wrapped in strips of blanket.
We left all the water we had with the constables and got airborne for the nearest Mission station where we dropped off the wounded and set course back to the incident scene. We managed to do three trips before having to refuel at the local Police station where we uplifted a doctor to the scene.
The day seemed to roll on in blood and pain, it was mind blowing and horrible, but we just had to keep flying and dropping off the dead and wounded. The last trip we landed and uplifted the Policeman and his Constables leaving trackers and a stick of troops at the mine scene and set off for FAF 8 as the sun set.
What a fucking day................

1 comment:

  1. To triumph over trouble and grow stronger with defeat is to win the kind of victory that will make your life complete

    ReplyDelete

I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.