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Sat, Mar 06, 2010

British Chinook Pilot Hit, Continues Flying

Credited With Saving The Lives Of 20 People In The Aircraft

Reports of some heroic flying are coming out of Afghanistan, where an RAF Chinook pilot was reportedly hit by a Taliban bullet between the eyes, but continued his mission saving the lives of the casualties he had flown in to rescue.

The pilots name: Flight Lieutenant Ian Fortune.

According the British Newspaper "The Sun", Fortune had flown into the area to pick up casualties from a firefight near Garmsir in Helmand Province between U.S. and Afghan forces and some heavily-armed rebels. The Chinook came under attack as he circled the troops, and continued taking fire as the casualties were being loaded.

Fortune was hit as he lifted off the ground. A round reportedly struck his helmet on the attachment rail for night vision goggles, penetrated the helmet, and hit him between the eyes. His head was knocked back and he was bleeding.

File Photo

The aircraft also sustained damage to its controls, which shut down its stabilization system.

Flt. Lt. Fortune managed somehow to fly the aircraft some 8 minutes with it "lurching from side to side" before landing at Camp Bastion. He was taken to a field hospital and treated for his injuries. Said one senior RAF source: "This could have become one of the worst incidents of the conflict. If the bullet had hit the pilot a millimeter lower, those on board wouldn't have stood a chance. And had it not been for the skill of the pilot the result would have been the same."

FMI: www.raf.mod.uk

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