Sapi

Sapi is the word for cow in Indonesian.  However, today it also happened to be the name of one of my passengers.  His possibly unique name, is not the reason I’m writing and sharing about this flight, but rather how and why he was on board my airplane today.  Since June 14th MAO our amphib plane has been down for maintenance issues.  So in the meantime we have been operating a wheel plane to a few of the locations here that also have runways.  Now many of the locations we typically serve have been without service of the airplane as the river is the only landing option which isn’t conducive to the standard airplane.  One of these particular locations called Eci happens to be connected with a road/trail/path to Kepi were there is a runway.  The distance between the two towns as the crow flies or caravan in our case is 50km (30miles).  The road/trail/path (sometimes passable by car, most times passable by motorcycle) winding around a lot so I’m not sure how far the trip is overland.  The construction crews get paid by distance here so the longer the road the bigger the paycheck.  Anyway back to Sapi’s story.  I showed up to Kepi on my second of my two outbonds for the day excepting to pick up 9 passengers and some baggage with a good chance of a quick turn around.  Our agent in Kepi is always on top of things which makes my job a lot easier.  Upon arriving to my surprise I was greeting by our agent from Eci not Kepi.  I hadn’t seen him since 14th of June when I last flew into Eci with the amphib.  Turns out he had brought a couple of patients that needed more medical attention then what the small local clinics could offer.  The ambulance brought the two patients around to the cargo door.  From what I gathered one patient would need to lie down and be strapped to the floor (something you wouldn’t dare do in Canada or the US).  Through conversations as we were getting everyone settled into the plane I come to find out this young man (Sapi) who’s leg is broken (had been splinted up) along with other injuries due to a motorcycle accident had just spent 3.5 hours on the back of a motorcycle to get to Kepi from Eci.  I didn’t get the back story on the other patient.  He was able to sit but didn’t look overly strong himself to have just made the same trip as well to get to the airport to catch a ride into town so to speak.  As I think about what these two men and those that brought them to the Kepi airport had to go through.  The service that our amphib is greatly missed, as the amphib could have picked them up in Eci and saved them what was likely a very grueling trip to the airport this morning.