Air Rescue from an Earthquake

We were on stand-by. About an hour earlier an earthquake had been forecast on a seismograph. It was going to happen in a remote village in the mountains of Chile. Lots of rescuers and rescue equipment had gone out to evacuate the area, because of the possibility of flooding from the dam that had been built to provide the town with water.

Suddenly, through the wireless came: “H.Q. Earthquake earlier than expected. Dam burst. Town flooded. Diving equipment and boats needed.”

We got the equipment and were off. It took us a couple of hours and saw the damage was very catastrophic. The whole town must have been under 12 feet of water. Here and there were people clinging to bits of wood and floating in the water. We saw one of the helicopters on top of a building, just above the level of the water, and another on some high ground, another one was circling, and the other two, we heard over the wireless, had been washed away by the tidal wave that had followed the dam breaking.

We dropped the rubber boats near the helicopters and they were manned immediately by the rescuers. The other two helicopters had landed and the rescuers from these two had manned the dinghies. My helicopter landed and we manned some more rubber boats.

These were soon full up of survivors who were taken to dry land. The two frogmen in my boat were Charlie Perkins and myself. We dived down to rescue a crying woman’s baby, but it was too late. We swam underwater for a bit, seeing gruesome sights of mangled bodies in the wreckage of fallen down buildings. Charlie pointed to a leg below the surface of the water. We swam to it and found its owner holding an electric cable and just managing to keep his head above water. Charlie got hold of him and took him to the nearest dry land.

A movement caught my eye. I looked around and saw one the buildings shaking. In fact, all of them were. Another tremor! I looked at the helicopter on the building and saw it going into the water. Two other helicopters took off and winch ropes came down. Grateful people grabbed hold of the ropes and were hauled up. I swam to a nearby boat and climbed aboard. We got to one of the safe helicopters and I realised that the water was going down. A crack must have opened and the water was going down that.

A great majority of the people had been saved, but some must have perished.

Teacher’s Comments


(c) M. Robert Gibson
Written 1976-11-04
Geography essay

This is a school essay.
It was written well before the internet. It is full of inaccuracies and assumptions; bad punctuation; bad grammar and a woeful lack of research, but, it is also a first draft. It was also hand-written in an exercise book, none of your fancy electronic gizmos back then.
And don’t forget, it was written by a schoolboy in a time before political correctness.
It is published here for purely selfish vanity reasons, so read it at your own peril and do not expect any great revelations.