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German foundation aids Bahamas relief
The first major hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic season brought disaster to the Bahamas. The Dieter Morszeck Foundation was moved to provide aerial aid to the region.
Bottled drinking water is taken off a floating Pilatus Porter in the Bahamas.
Read this story in our November 2019 printed issue.

Germany-based Dieter Morszeck Foundation provided aid to the victims of hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas by flying rescue and relief missions out of Florida. Three of its aircraft airlifted injured and sick persons from the areas ravaged by the hurricane, and brought medical personnel, drinking water and food to the northern islands.

Three of its aircraft flew these missions to the Bahamas for more than a week after the region was hit by the category five hurricane. They set off from Fort Lauderdale in Florida to the hard-hit northeast of the Bahamas laden with food, water and other emergency supplies. More than 100 sick or injured individuals were flown from the ravaged islands to the capital Nassau or to Florida, where they received medical treatment. Over 40 tons of water, food and other supplies were brought in to the remote islands.

The foundation's single engine aircraft are equipped with amphibious floats and can take off and land on water or concrete runways. The Quest Aircraft Kodiak 100, Pilatus PC-6 and Cessna 206 aircraft can carry up to eight passengers or one ton of freight. They also allow for sick or injured patients to be transported lying down. They had originally been purchased by the foundation to provide medical support to the indigenous people of the Amazon.

“We are saving people who have been injured by hurricane Dorian or who have fallen seriously ill,” said pilot Sven Lepschy, who initiated the relief and rescue missions. He is also the CEO of WACO Aircraft, a manufacturer of open cockpit sport biplanes located in Battle Creek, Michigan. “Our small aircraft can reach even the outermost islands in the northeastern corner of the Bahamas. Many people there have lost everything. Their houses are destroyed and they are currently living under dreadful sanitary conditions.”

The foundation's amphibious planes, able to land on water and short runways, can airlift people in distress on the beaches or off boats on the waters along the remote islands. “The missions are very challenging. With the floats, we can land on water, but the storm left a lot of wood and wreckage in the sea,” says Cédric Gitschenko, another of the foundation's pilots. The tours take an emotional toll too: “My heart bleeds when I see the destruction the hurricane brought. Thanks to the Dieter Morszeck Foundation though, and many donations and volunteers from Florida, we can help alleviate the suffering.”

The foundation carries out its rescue missions in cooperation with Florida Seaplanes, an Orlando-based flight school, and Gold Aviation of Fort Lauderdale. David Hensch is the third pilot alongside Lepschy and Gitschenko.

The foundation was established by German industrialist Dieter Morszeck in 2016 to finance and operate flight rescue missions, conduct medical research, provide medical assistance and supplies, and further education for children and young adults living in poverty. In Brazil, the organisation is setting up a mission to provide medical services for the indigenous people of the Amazon with flying doctors.

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