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The first December 2003, was for many the beginning of the most cheerful month of the year, the beginning of Christmas, but for two pilots from the Army Aviation Brigade I meant to start their lives again.
In a recognition mission executed by four helicopters that started at 8:00am, in Vistahermosa municipality rural area, Meta Department, on board of a helicopter UH 1N, Captain Luis Fernando Fonseca and Lieutenant Julian Rincon, lived the most 'tenacious' experience, as how they catalogued it.
"karla, karla, karla through the left", (standard language of the pilots to refer to the enemy’s fire), it is the report that the fourth helicopter gave before the guerrilla's harassment few minutes after taking off, again they reported "karla, karla, karla, ". Officers Fonseca and Rincon who were the pilots of the third helicopter, started to descent in order to repel the attack, until it was hit one of the engines of their helicopter and the left machine gun didn’t worked.
It didn't last more than four seconds for the helicopter to loose the other engine, forcing them to maneuver as quickly as they could to be able to fall in a clear place. Here it started the longest 20 minutes of their lives.
Assuring the inertia rail of the seat belt, before reporting to the other helicopters "emergency landing, mayday - mayday" (lieutenant Rincon remembers that everything happened so quickly that he only reached to commend to God. This same instant is reminded by Captain Fonseca like a fleeting moment where everything passes through the mind, it were only 8 seconds while they felt, seconds that became the most distressing moments in their lives.
They can’t explain yet how can they be alive and completely healthy after their helicopter was knock down, falling in a zone crowded with guerilla and also that the impact alone didn’t killed them. A real miracle, maybe, but the experience and the know-how to confront this situation, and with the God’s help, allowed these two military to be able to relate their story.
During 20 minutes the pilots and gunners combated the guerillas fighters from the Farc 27 squad, while the support arrived. "We didn't feel any pain, when reacting after the impact we only wonder if we were alive, how we could we left the machine, ran and started to shoot" Captain Fonseca adds.
Now that they remember that thanks to the decision taken of quickly giving speed to the helicopter in order to fell in a clear place, they make the reflection that to think the things a lot is not sometimes the best thing to do, even more, where the anguish takes possession of the situation.
The chance to live again, of being able to surpass a situation that hundreds of military have to confront in the battle field daily, but that sometimes they don't run with the same luck of living to relate it, has taken these Army pilots, to take everything seriously, to be more cautious when to act and even to love more their profession. "Now we give more value to life and what we do with it" they add with a light smile.
After five months of physical and psychological recovery, and of spending several nights dreaming that they continue shooting the guerrilla, the commitment with their Country, their institution and with themselves continue, as well as the one of continuing combating the enemy from their helicopters and make honor to their famous motto "Glory on the horizon."