She was enjoying a motorcycle ride with her son. The brakes failed. They crashed.
And now Carmen Gappmayr lay hurting, her face smashed and broken. Her injuries exceeded the abilities of the little provincial hospital. To get skilled help would mean rigorous overland and ocean travel – increasing the risk of further injury and internal bleeding.
Carmen and her husband, Richard, had been vacationing with their kids -- taking a welcome break from Richard’s schedule of travel as a language consultant.
Richard and Carmen Gappmayr with their children and a friend (on the right)
In his job as consultant, Richard regularly visits church planting teams in remote villages, using NTM Aviation’s helicopter to save him days of energy-sapping travel by land.
Now this devastating accident! Richard thought of contacting NTM Aviation to see if they could help. But this little island was far from the helicopters.
To the Rescue
He knew that NTM Aviation would help, if they could. In fact, years ago, when his son had a life-threatening brain tumor, NTM Aviation had come to the rescue. They alone had been able to meet the requirements of flying below 1500 feet to keep the boy alive in transit to the hospital.
Again in 2014, Carmen had had major surgery for tumors in her abdomen. NTM Aviation saved her weeks in the hospital by giving her a safe and smooth flight to her home area for recovery.
Now Richard reached out to NTM Aviation again. Could they help? Yes, they would do what was necessary to make sure these faithful German missionaries were cared for and supported in this desperate time of need.
A Game Changer
Pilot Brian Schaadt prepared for the trip, thankful that the R66 helicopter had arrived in the Philippines just weeks before. It would easily do the 370-mile trip to the smaller island with no problems finding Jet A fuel. Its emergency floats would ensure safety flying over open ocean. “It’s definitely a game changer on the long flights,” his program manager had said. This would definitely be one of those longer flights!
A couple of hours later, Brian landed in a vacant lot next to the remote provincial hospital. With Carmen loaded as comfortably as possible despite her high pain level, he took off for Manila -- a huge metropolis covering 237 square miles. The R66, a mere speck in comparison, landed within a half hour on the rooftop helipad of world-class St. Luke’s Medical Center in downtown Manila.
Doctors have since operated on Carmen, beginning the process of reattaching her facial bones to her skull. It will be a long road, but in God’s mercy and grace, the journey to healing has begun.
Have you supported NTM Aviation in any way? Maybe you were praying the very day of this dramatic flight. Maybe you gave to make the R66 a reality. If so, Richard and Carmen Gappmayr have a message for you:
“From the bottom of our hearts, we just want to thank our NTM Aviation team and all you who support the flight program for making such an excellent program and team of pilots available and affordable to us here in the Philippines.”