Pilot Shot in Head Still Lands With Afghan Injured

Hangs onto controls with blood in his eyes
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Mar 8, 2010 2:37 AM CST
Updated Mar 8, 2010 6:00 AM CST
Hero British pilot Lt.Ian Fortune, 28.

(Newser) – A British pilot shot in the head managed to land his aging helicopter full of Afghanistan war wounded in a safe zone. Lt. Ian Fortune, 28, has ferrying wounded on a Chinook chopper last month when it suddenly "shuddered," said reporter Mike Brewer, who was on board doing a special report for the Discovery Channel. Someone called "mayday, mayday" on the radio, and Fortune announced he had been shot in the face, said Brewer. "I was thinking it was the end of my days, and I was about to plummet to my death," recalled the terrified reporter.

Instead, Fortune managed to pilot the craft with 20 people on board, including at least 6 wounded and several medical personnel, to a nearby camp in Helmand Province. Fortune refused to give up the controls. "Even with blood pouring into his eyes, he would not let go," said Brewer. Fortune is recovering well from his wounds. He's declining to discuss his heroics.

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