Ambulance Helicopter Hit by Rocket

Ambulance Helicopter Hit by Rocket

  • AFMDA Helicopter Story


On October 7, MDA’s Medevac crews operated three helicopters and worked nonstop to evacuate the critically wounded from Southern Israel. The expert pilots maneuvered almost miraculously, avoiding incoming rockets and landing anywhere they could to save lives.

It was one long shift that began on Saturday morning and continued until Monday,” said Dr. Shafir Botner, a veteran paramedic and director of MDA’s paramedic school.

During one of the evacuations, shrapnel from a rocket hit the rotor of the helicopter. The team went through moments of anxiety, fearing death. “We were hit!” Dr. Botner reported on the radio. The helicopter began spinning in all directions. But fortunately, the resourceful pilot was able to land the helicopter.

We realized we were not out of danger yet,” Dr. Botner explains. “We went outside the helicopter. Afraid a fire might break out at any moment, we evacuated the wounded from the helicopter outside to protect them.” They were met shortly by rescue vehicles who transported them all to safety.

Dr. Botner recalls another air evacuation that is etched in his mind. “We treated a policeman who was fighting in the area [of the Music Festival] and was shot in the abdomen. He was very badlywounded; he lost a lot of blood. He asked me if he was already dead. I told him he was alive. I calmed him down. He pleaded, ‘Save me; I have children.’

Of course, I did everything I could for him and the other wounded. I fought for his life with all the means at my disposal. I hoped he would survive.

I didn’t know what had happened to him. Not long ago, my brother-in-law, who is a policeman, told me about his friend who was seriously wounded and is trying to reach the team that treated him. It was indeed the same wounded person.

He came out of it and I was privileged to meet him. There is no greater privilege than this. The wounded we treated define the disaster. We treated a young woman who was seriously wounded at the festival; we treated a policeman who was wounded by an RPG; another wounded man was shot in the abdomen. Another one and another one, like in a bad movie. And above us all this time — a missile war.

At night, we treated a very badly wounded fighter, he was bleeding everywhere, emptied of his blood. He was accompanied by two soldiers with gunshot wounds — one in the leg and the other in the hand. They lingered a bit outside the helicopter. I hurried them to evacuate the badly wounded man as quickly as possible. Suddenly, the man with the bullet in his leg started running, even faster than me and told me, ‘If it’s urgent, it’s urgent.’

We landed at Hadassah Hospital, and to save time, the wounded carried their severely wounded friend’s stretcher with us. One wounded man with a bullet in his leg and an arterial tourniquet, the other with bullets in his hand and an arterial tourniquet, and they both carry their friend’s stretcher with us so as not to lose a moment!

I left with the understanding that the people who fought there that Saturday were superhumans, superheroes,Dr. Botner concludes.

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