Peru: Motorcycle Taxis Light Up Runway to Transport Sick Patients

Some 300 motorcycle taxi drivers used the lights of their vehicles to light up the Contamana local aerodrome's runway, making it possible for a light aircraft flying three patients to take off. This token of solidarity has prompted positive reactions among Peruvian netizens.

Last Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at 6 pm., at the aerodrome of Contamana, a light aircraft was about to take off with three patients that had to be transferred to a hospital in the city of Pucallpa, in the Loretean province of Ucayali.

Hours earlier, a 31-year-old female patient arrived to a medical center in Contamana to deliver her baby. Some complications arose two hours after delivery and the mother and her newborn baby had to be transported to a better equipped hospital. Almost at the same time, a 17-year-old male patient arrived to a health center with symptoms of leptospirosis. The three patients required urgent medical attention, so doctors ordered their immediate transfer to Pucallpa.

By that time, all operations at the Contamana aerodrome and at the Pucallpa airport were closed for the day. The doctors and personnel from the Contama aerodrome, however, managed to arrange the flight and got the authorization to land in the Pucallpa airport.


Image from Flickr user Martintoy, used under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC 2.0).

But things were not completely solved yet, as the Contamana aerodrome's runway doesn't have lighting.

A local radio station made an appeal [es] and asked motorcycle and motorcycle taxi drivers to go to the aerodrome to light up the 800-meter long landing strip. Just a few minutes later, 300 motorcycles and motorcycle taxis arrived at the aerodrome and managed to perfectly light up the whole strip. The aircraft took off to applause from the bystanders.

Reactions on Twitter appeared a little later, and soon users started tweeting with the hashtag #Contamana [es] to voice their sentiments.

Juancho (@juanchong) [es] summed it up with three words:

@juanchong: Que bonita historia *.* #solidaridad #peru #esmiperu #contamana #loreto …

@juanchong: What a beautiful story*.* #solidaridad [solidarity] #peru #esmiperu [this is my Peru] #contamana #loreto …

User Luciana (@LucianaRArmijo) [es] talked about her optimism:

@LucianaRArmijo: Historias como las de #Contamana te alegran el día y la semana

@LucianaRArmijo: Stories like the one coming from #Contamana brighten up your day and your week.

Ricardo (@Ricardobarrveg) [es] quoted part of the lyrics of a famous song [es] and noted:

@Ricardobarrveg: #Contamana te vio nacer, con mucho placer. gracias a todos los que lo lograron!!

@Ricardobarrveg: #Contamana saw you when you were born, with great pleasure. Thanks to all people who made it [possible]!!

Meanwhile, Manuel Cisneros (@efimero_MC) [es] broke the news briefly:

@efimero_MC: #contamana@rmapalacios: La avioneta se elevó entre aplausos. Desde aqui el mío. Esas son las noticias que te devuelven la fe en la gente.”

@efimero_MC: #contamana@rmapalacios: The aircraft took off among applauses. My applause comes from here. These are news that restore your faith in people.”

And then he added:

@efimero_MC: Hay esperanza!! #contamana

@efimero_MC: There is hope!! #contamana

Lastly, Nidia Sánchez (@nidiasanchezg) [es] saw the news from a more realistic stance:

@nidiasanchez: El caso de #Contamana revela también los graves problemas para que las personas con menos recursos reciban una atención de salud de calidad

@nidiasanchez: The incident in #Contamana also reveals the serious problems people with limited means of support have to face to get quality health care.

Netizens also shared some reactions to the story on Facebook [es].

Update (5 April, 2013): Unfortunately, local media reported on Friday, April 5, that the 17-year old male leptospirosis patient has passed away.


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