The crew of a US Air Force Plane, who made a remarkable landing at Shannon Airport, are to be nominated for a prestigious bravery award.
The plane was brought down despite thick fog as part of an effort to save the life of a wounded sailor.
The incident occurred in April, but details are only emerging now.
This truly remarkable incident occurred in April, but details are only emerging now as the air crew involved are being nominated for the prestigious Air Medal award in recognition of their heroism.
The flight departed Rammstein Air Force Base in Germany, and sought to bring the seriously wounded sailor to Walter Reed Medical Center near Washington DC.
A total of 17 people were on board, including the stricken patient whose condition deteriorated when the flight was two hours west of Ireland.
He required immediate surgery, so the decision was taken to divert to Shannon and for the patient to be brought to University Hospital Limerick.
After the plane performed a u-turn, weather conditions also took a turn for the worse, with thick fog rolling in at Shannon when they were just 60 miles away, at 2 a.m.
Faced with an impossible decision, and a critical situation for the sailor on board, Capt. Forrest “Cal” Lampela opted to go ahead with the landing, even though he could only see the runway when he was 100 feet above ground.
The plane touched down safely, and has told the military.com website that it’s the most challenging landing he has ever done.
The decision was further complicated as this flight didn’t have diplomatic clearance, but the decision was made to press ahead anyways, due to the unfolding emergency.
A waiting ambulance took the sailor to University Hospital Limerick, where he underwent surgery.
24 hours later, the sailor was transported back to the US in a stable condition and now the six flight crew on board look set to be honored for their life-saving efforts.