For the pilot and conservationists aboard the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust helicopter, going out typically means scanning the bush of Kenya’s Tsavo National Park for injured rangers, or looking for injured elephants or calfs separated from their mothers.
But on the afternoon of May 3rd, their mission changed from saving wildlife to people during torrential flooding.
A tanker truck was crossing the Galana-Kulalu causeway, when the waters rose around the vehicle so fast as to strand him. Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s operations manager for their ranch in the area called the helicopter, piloted by fixed-wing aircraft pilot, Taru Carr-Hartley, to the scene.
Dwarfed by the angry river, the tanker had flipped onto its side, and the driver, James Rufus Kinyua, had climbed out of the cab and was lying on the door. Slowly, the pilot lowered the helicopter closer and closer to the tanker where the driver sat crouched in the swirling winds from both the flooding and the rotors.
“I was told he had been there since 10am, in extreme fear I am sure,” Taru Carr-Hartley told Nation Africa. “He was hanging half out of the window, lying on top of the truck, and I could see the windscreen was smashed and the whole cabin was filled with water.”
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That’s when Taru’s younger brother Roan Carr-Hartley, stepped out of the helicopter and helped the driver climb aboard.
“I had to concentrate to keep the distance and height between the helicopter and the truck the same to give him time to help the gentleman into the helicopter and jump back in himself,” he added.
WATCH the whole rescue below…
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