MAF Responds to Emergency Medevac in Tchaguine, Chad

Canadian Pilot Phil Henderson, from London, Ontario plays a key role

Guelph, Ontario, CANADA

TCHAGUINE, Chad, Aug. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was called to the remote village of Tchaguine for an emergency medevac for Urbane, a young boy with an inflamed appendix, potentially at the point of rupturing. The only way for Urbane to receive the necessary medical care was to be flown out by MAF to the mission hospital in the capital of N’Djamena. He was able to receive life-saving surgery the following day and returned to his village in good health the following week.

Tchaguine is a small village in the south of the country that becomes surrounded by water after the rains begin in June; travel in and out by road, which normally takes 12-14 hours, becomes impossible. With MAF, an 80 minute flight provides a vital connection between this village and the capital of N’Djamena. After receiving the call for the emergency medevac request, MAF pilot Phil Henderson was airborne within the hour after refueling and filing the flight plan.

The entire village gathered as the plane arrived, and one family brought their 9-year-old daughter, Solange, to the airstrip hoping to get her to the hospital as well. She had been suffering with a tumor in her jaw which the local clinic was unable to treat. She was added to the passenger list, and flown out with the Urbane, who was accompanied by his older brother as a care-giver. Solange was also assessed quickly at the mission hospital and given some medicine to slow the growth of the tumor. She has also returned to the village to continue the course of medication and help her family with the harvest.

The children were visibly anxious about flying in the aircraft, as this would not only be their first flight, but also their first time leaving behind family and the only place they’ve ever known to visit N’Djamena, a large city they’d only been told stories about.

MAF pilot Phil Henderson shares: “I’ve become so used to the smells, sounds and sensations of flying that it is easy to forget how strange it must be to climb into a machine and leave the ground when you’ve never done either of those things.

“The kids looked uneasy in their very unfamiliar new environment at 8,500 feet, until I offered them some peanuts from a plastic coke bottle - that’s how we buy peanuts here. The sight of something familiar seemed to settle them down and shift their focus enough that the flight was less stressful for them.”

Mission Aviation Fellowship ( operates a fleet of over 130 airplanes worldwide – the largest fleet of privately owned aircraft in the world. Since 1945, MAF has enabled the work of churches, relief organizations, missionaries, medical teams, development agencies, and others working to make life better for those who live in the most isolated parts of the world. MAF began work in Chad in 1966 and has served the nation continuously. In recent years, MAF has responded to disasters in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, in Nepal following two deadly earthquakes in 2015, and in the Caribbean following hurricanes Irma and Marie. MAF’s Canadian headquarters is in Guelph, Ontario.

Photos are available here.

Notes to the Editor:

  • MAF began work in Chad in 1966.
  • In 2017 MAF Chad served 605 passengers across 26 destinations, and worked with 25 partner organizations.
  • From their base in N’Djamena, MAF planes provide access to the remotest regions, supporting water and medical projects, mission outreaches, Bible translation, leadership training and development initiatives.
  • Only a small fraction of the country’s 40,000km of roads are paved, making overland travel time-consuming and dangerous. 
  • MAF pilot Phil Henderson has served in Chad with his family since 2013. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Phil spent his childhood in Zambia, Africa. The family’s current home base in Canada is London, ON.