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Tsunami 2004: Improvised Flying Clinic B757 (pics)

Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:26 pm


Here are some pics from a B757 evacuation flight BKK/HKT-HEL on the New Year's Eve in 2004 after the tsunami in Asia. The article itself is in Finnish, skip the video in the beginning.

After the Christmas tsunami in 2004 a couple of thousands Finnish tourists were evacuated from Thailand, mostly on Finnair and Air Finland flights. The authorities soon realized a "flying clinic" was needed for the seriously injured, to get them home as soon as possible. A specially equipped Finnair B757 (OH-LBU) was quickly remodeled into an ambulance plane, capable of providing intensive care and limited surgical operations for up to 22 patients. The stretchers were located on the middle seats. The medical team had 37 members, 13 doctors and 24 nurses.

On the New Year's Eve the B757 collected 14 patients from Bangkok and Phuket, they had a tech stop in India somewhere. In the article a doctor from the flight tells how things were improvised, they knew they needed to act quickly. Naturally the space on the plane was limited, the team was afraid of turbulence and power cuts but all went fine. The surgical operations were mostly successful, one of the 14 patients was lost. Together the tsunami killed 179 Finns in Thailand and Sri Lanka. I personally had a lucky escape, I was supposed to spend the Christmas in Kamala Beach in Phuket with my friends but I had to return home before the disaster. My friends managed to escape the wave but unfortunately they lost their unborn baby.

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