One of our most recent emergency air rescues occurred on May 5, 2011. We received a call from a small community that was 3 hours away on horseback from San Borja, Bolivia, in the department of Beni.
There were 5 people that needed assistance. Unfortunately, we only had space for 3 in our Cessna airplane because one of the women needed to lay down. This 17 year old young woman had a very large tumor on her knee – twice as big as her head – and was in extreme pain; she could barely move. She lived in a Chiman community (one of the indigenous groups of Bolivia) and didn’t speak any Spanish, so she wasn’t able to explain what had happened.
Tumor on her knee
Another of the women had tuberculosis on her spine and was essentially paralyzed. The 3 women were flown from San Borja to Cochabamba, where they would have access to the care they needed (the 2 other patients were not in as critical condition and took a bus to Cochabamba). The young woman’s leg will have to be amputated; she most likely would have died if she had not been able to get to a hospital quickly. Special thanks to our Mano a Mano Aviation staff and our pilot Ivo Velasquez for making this flight!