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Many of us have wondered what the great beyond looks like; what youd feel after dying; how well see the light beyond the tunnel; however, we always resist seeing one of our best friends dying. As a matter of fact, in milliseconds, we struggle to find the way to save him/her. That happened this time.
Meteorological conditions on site were not appropriate for the operation. It was foggy and rainy all day long, so we could not go for help, but a Superior Force decided we could enter the area.
From our location, we saw a big cloud moving and without a doubt we headed for the heliport. This heliport was not the best because it was a very small place surrounded by big trees and our chopper could not land. At least, we could throw the stretcher and lock patients to pull them up on a stationary flight.
We had been flying for a couple of minutes when one of the soldiers had convulsions; I turned his head and opened his mouth so that he could take more air in. He got calm again and continued breathing. The other soldier also had convulsions and I practiced the same procedure.
It seemed an endless trip. Suddenly, the injured soldier besides was trying to breathe deeply, but he couldnt. He began convulsing again and became still without breathing. Immediately, I checked his vital signs, but I couldnt find any pulse. When I saw him inert, I felt impotent, but a silent voice inside me continued saying it was not possible for me to land with this young man dead.
In just a few seconds I took air and put it into him, mouth to mouth, but his body was the same, and I continued struggling to not let him die. Once again, I took air and put it into him, mouth to mouth, deeper this time. I could see his chest inflated, but the air did not go out. When, finally, this brave warrior expelled the air, he opened his eyes and breathed. He was looking at all sides as wondering what had happened.
I am Corporal Ronald Gómez Jiménez, crewman of the MI-17 helicopter, EJC 3394.
Special thanks to MAJ Quintero, pilot; Sgt, Zapata, flight engineer; and the rest of the flight crew.