Mission helicopter damaged in Papua New Guinea accident

By December 5, 2007

Papua New Guinea (MNN) – New Tribes Missions reports that a missionary
pilot walked away from a helicopter crash last week in Papua New Guinea. 

Pilot Ray Finsaas was shuttling fuel to the missionary team working
with the Itutang tribe in a remote section of the country.

The Jet Ranger was badly damaged on a remote airstrip during
a fuel transport. According to NTM
Aviation, the fuel was in a sling under the helicopter, a normal way of
carrying cargo by helicopter. The aircraft was "very close to the ground .
. . basically in a hover" when the accident occurred.

The safety record has been spotless until now. The
helicopter has been operated by NTM Aviation in Papua New Guinea since 1993
without an accident. The exact cause of the accident is under investigation.

Unfortunately, the helicopter is the team's only one in the
country. NTM Aviation is sending it to the mission's flight center in Papua New
Guinea. Repairs are anticipated to cost in excess of $250,000. 

However, the repair costs could exceed the value
of the vehicle. If that comes to pass, NTM
Aviation would choose to replace it. Replacing the helicopter is expected to
cost more than $500,000

Thank the Lord the pilot was not hurt, but also pray that the plan
can be repaired.  

SIL International, a sister organization of Wycliffe Bible
Translators, has two helicopters in Papua New Guinea and is expected to help
carry the workload until NTM Aviation can put a helicopter back into service.


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