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Longest air ambulance service: South Africa-based bank official flies to city for cancer treatment
In what could arguably be the longest air ambulance trip to be operated in the time of the lockdown world over, an ailing bank official from Nellore who worked in Johannesburg, South Africa, was flown approximately 21,000 kilometres across seven nations in a private air ambulance to Chennai on Monday.
The flight, which took approximately 10 hours to complete the trip, halted in Mauritius for refuelling before touching down at Chennai airport at 6.30 pm.
Vijay Yasim (43), from Nellore lives with his family in Johannesburg and works at a private bank as a senior executive. Recently, he was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to come to India for treatment. However, he could not come as planned after flight services across the world were cancelled after several countries, including India, went into a lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Concerned about Vijay’s poor health condition, his colleagues at the bank in South Africa contacted an air ambulance service in Bengaluru and arranged for him to be flown back to India. Special permission was sought and obtained from the government of India for the flight, following which the air ambulance left Bengaluru for Johannesburg on Saturday.
“The aircraft left South Africa with Vijay, his wife and children, besides a doctor and nurse. Two pilots were at the cockpit. The air ambulance flew over seven nations to bring Vijay and his family back home,” an airport official said.
The air ambulance reached Chennai airport at 6.30 pm via Maldives. Soon after his arrival, Vijay was shifted to private hospital in the city for start the treatment.