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Home My Accident
Accident - Page 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Arthur D Piercy   
Monday, 13 July 2009 10:03
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The aircraft went through the arrester bed like a hot knife through butter. No braking effect whatsoever. The next 'obstacle' was the security fence.

Where does ones sense of humour come from in at a time like this? I was about to go AWOL (absent without leave) with a multimillion rand aircraft. The board of enquiry is probably going to ask me who authorised this illegal departure from the security area. At the same time I was scared I was going to drown in the river just beyond the fence. My seat has a land survival pack in it and not an inflatable dinghy!!

When I went through the fence I remember putting my hands in front of my face. It was at this precise moment that there was a loud bang. I remember smelling cordite or gunpowder and then everything went black. I felt the rush of wind over my face and the feeling of silk on my cheek. With hindsight I realised that when the ejection seat went off, my helmet must have come off as well and the silk I felt on the cheek was the ejection seat's stabilising parachute and not my personal parachute.

When I regained my senses I was lying in the sand on my right hand side. The first thing I attempted to do was to roll onto my back and when I pushed on the sand with my left arm there was this incredible piercing pain in my arm. The left arm was broken just above the elbow. I then looked down at my legs to see why they had not moved and I could not feel them at all. I realised that the ejection seat was still strapped to my back and thought that this might have something to do with the lack of movement in my legs. I had no idea that the neck was dislocated.

I then started looking around and the first thing I saw was that I was lying directly in front of my aircraft. Here was a F1 Mirage pointing straight at me. The problem wasn't that the aircraft was pointing at me but rather that there was a fire just behind the left air intake. I know there is a fuel tank there but even worse was the fact that the ammo bins (with over a hundred rounds of 30mm ammunition) was just under the fire. If those rounds started going off I was in the line of fire.

When the fire brigade arrived on the scene they naturally came to my aid first. My immediate advice to them was that no one touches me until a doctor pitches up and that they immediately tend to the fire on the aircraft. There is no way that I want to be shot at by my own aircraft.

When the doctors arrived with the ambulance my first concern was they treat my arm for pain, then they can worry about the rest. Even after 2 morphine injections there was still not relief from the pain. I was later told that the adrenaline in the body was so high that the morphine had no effect. 

Just before they pushed me into the back of the ambulance I passed out only to wake up in 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria 10 days later.

It was another seven months before I left the hospital with a C6, C7 fracture of the neck and permanently confined to using a wheelchair.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 23:11
 

Testimonials

Extracts from a testimonial recieved from the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

"I would like to thank Arthur Piercy for inspiring us. We need to always have driven and positive human beings like him, who don't constantly dwell on the ills of the past but on the possibilties of the future" (Zola)

"To me the important points that he made were that one's life is very important and it is that indiviual's responsibility to take care of it no matter what; and that determination can conquerany obstacle" (David)

"I was humbled by his humility, determination and passion for life. Nothing can and will stand in his way and I admire it about him. He just opened my eyes to the fact that if you want to you can, all you need is determination" (Ntombi) 

"Indeed your response to a life changing circumstance certainly places you in a special class, somewhere above the rest of us. But your incredible sense of humour, your humaness - those form the bridge that allows ordinary human beings to rub shoulders with you and face their own, smaller situations, encouraged. Thank you for that." Nadia Coetzee : Director: Foreign Qualifications Evaluation and Advisory Services.

 
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