Angels of Aceh: The compelling story of Operation Tsunami by Sophie York

By Sophie York

A compassionate and infrequently stunning account of the Boxing Day tsunami advised by means of the 1st Australian surgical workforce into Banda Aceh.

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Extra resources for Angels of Aceh: The compelling story of Operation Tsunami Assist

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30 Angels of Aceh-pages 11/10/05 3:11 PM Page 31 The Gate Opens Paul Dunkin, Paul Luckin, René Zellweger and Peter Sharwood had rushed back to the hotel from their supply shopping, only to have to then wait out at Halim Air Base. While they waited they loaded a heavy tow bar into the plane, to assist in manoeuvring it out of the way once it had landed at Banda Aceh airfield. Anything they could do to facilitate their departure, they did—enthusiastically. Waiting always seemed interminable, and never more so than now.

They hung in there, in the dark and cold, maintaining the health and spirits of the patient. Police rescue services hauled them up when daylight came. Jeff breathed life back into badly injured patients. He re-established airways and gave oxygen, adrenalin, morphine, fluids, you name it. He attached splints, neckbraces, bandages, compresses. He wrapped freezing people who would otherwise die of hypothermia. Most importantly, he encouraged them to hang in there. He had helped rescue Stuart Diver, the sole survivor of those trapped in the Thredbo landslide.

They were proud of their son. And terrified for him. Narelle’s dad, Barry, drove her and Sudhakar to the airport. Her mother minded the boys. Andrew, the youngest, burst into tears. There was so much that was unknown. This in itself can be frightening. Even the adults felt the strain, as much as they attempted not to show it. They tried to be reassuring, but children somehow always know. 35 Angels of Aceh-pages 11/10/05 3:11 PM Page 36 ANGELS OF ACEH Darkness was falling rapidly, making tents and toilets a priority.

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