‘Mission Mercy’ that rescued SL students trapped in Wuhan
By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
The 16-member crew of SriLankan Airlines ‘Mission Mercy’ to China to rescue 33 trapped Sri Lankan students from novel coronavirus said they voluntarily stepped forward to fly to Wuhan.
SriLankan Airlines Chief Officer Service Delivery (COSD) Captain Rajind Ranatunga said when the need of the hour arose to send a special rescue flight to China, there was an overwhelming response from the entire staff to join the mission.
At a special media briefing held recently in Hilton Colombo to bring forward the act of heroism by all crew members and support staff that took part in Mission Mercy, the top official said they were expecting for voluntary members to join the risky mission.
“As soon as we received the order from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to send a flight to China to repatriate the trapped students, we were expecting voluntary staff members to join this mission concerning the vulnerable nature of it,” he said.
Responding to a query made by Daily Mirror as to whether the country’s national carrier was waiting for any volunteer staffer to dispatch on a flight to China despite its well-organised flight schedules with designated crews for various destinations, Captain Ranatunga said it was actually the other way round where many staff members voluntarily came forward to take part in the life-saving mission.
Chief Pilot of Mission Mercy (SriLankan Airlines flight UL1422 to Wuhan), Captain Chaminda de Zoysa said they were no heroes to have succeeded in this rescue operation with a humble satisfaction. “We had to carefully select the team as all top crew members voluntarily came forward to accomplish this mission,” he said.