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Bloody Wednesday on Donkey road

By Cpl. Sbastien Pisani
First published in
SFOR Informer#108, March 7, 2001

Manjaca - This was a real blood bath. The snow on the verge of the road, the canvas cover of the truck and the windows of the cabin were covered with haemoglobin. The groans of the casualties have not been forgotten for a realistic performance. Those taking parts at the Blue Light exercise waited impatiently for the medical teams arriving from the British camps of Mrkonjic Grad and Sipovo.
“The scenario is very simple. A troop transportation vehicle detonated a mine and it came off the road under the explosion impact. The ten men on board are all hurt, among whom some are seriously injured,” said Capt. Neil Opie, in charge of reporting the state of health of each victim. The situation is critical, as two soldiers of the 2nd Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment each lost a limb at the time of the crash.
A military police patrol from Mrkonjic Grad located the damaged truck on Donkey road, some kilometres South from Banja Luka. The alarm was immediately raised. “We deployed the full plan of action. A medical team arrived with ambulance from Mrkonjic Grad, while another team accompanied by de-mining elements came from Sipovo with two Dutch helicopters,” said Capt. Opie.
Cpl. Adam Vizard and his de-mining dog “Roly” progressed cautiously to the British truck. It was necessary to check that no other mines were nearby. At last a way was cleared, into which doctors and nurses rushed. “Where is my leg?” screamed a man wearing a false imitation representing the damages due to a mine explosion. It was not easy reassuring the casualties while giving first aid in that rickety vehicle where the blood covering the clothes brought about difficult diagnosis.
After some minutes the first victims were laid on shafts carried by soldiers coming in support. “This is Chris, take him back to the ambulances!” ordered Cpl. Appleby, who co-ordinated the rescue near the truck. Comforting words were covered with the roar of one of the helicopters taking off to Sipovo hospital.
In a quarter of an hour all the casualties were evacuated.
“The helicopter transporting the last severely wounded person leaves,” said the Dutch Cpl. Morvan Ernest Juan Dreischor to the hospital with his mobile communication unit.

“The men train very often, that's why the intervention has been so speedy. Our collaboration with the Dutch helicopters is important: we have learnt to work together, which could be very useful in case of problems,” said Capt. Opie.

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