The sailor returns – courtesy of TAG
We would like to thank Philippe M, one of our charter customers, for sharing with us this moving story about his experiences with Coronavirus and his successful repatriation with TAG.
During these times of lockdowns, social distancing and distress due to the Covid 19 pandemic, let me tell you my own tale of woe – fortunately with a happy ending.
Having made multiple trips last winter between Geneva and my yacht at anchor in Menorca, my plan was to set sail on a long voyage lasting several months around the Mediterranean.
Although the spread of Coronavirus had already been declared to be a pandemic, in mid-March the severe restrictions were not yet in place. I therefore considered myself to be lucky to fulfil my dream whilst at the same time protecting myself from the risks of catching the virus. What better way to self-isolate than on a yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean?
Then suddenly it all went wrong!
One morning onboard my boat, I was seized with chills, headaches and body-aches. Convinced that this was nothing more than a bout of influenza, I embarked on a course of self-medication, dosing myself with paracetamol and vitamin C.
How wrong could I be! Next moment I was in an ambulance, sirens sounding and lights flashing, en route to hospital. Then came numerous tests and the result that I had been dreading. I was COVID-19 positive and was to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
I'll spare you the details of the next 12 days but during my more lucid moments, I recall that my overwhelming desire was to fly back home to be amongst my family and loved ones. As I began to recover, this longing to return became my main preoccupation. But how? With all commercial airlines grounded, this was never going to happen - until a pilot friend of mine put me in touch with TAG Aviation.
My first contact with TAG was extremely positive. They immediately understood the situation and started arranging for me to be repatriated on a private medical plane. Within no time at all a flight plan was prepared which, although seemingly straightforward, had yet to be approved under the tough new European regulations that had been imposed due to the pandemic.
Then came two pieces of fantastic news. Firstly, I was no longer infected by the virus and could fly back home and secondly, the flight plan was given the go ahead, as well.
Inevitably, there were new restrictions to comply with. Due to the new regulations, two Covid-19 negative tests were required instead of the normal one and I was also required to lie down in an isolation chamber during the entire flight. However, it was thanks to the persistence of Maud and Camille, TAG‘s Charter Sales Executives, that all the problems were finally overcome, allowing me to return home to my family safe and sound.
So that was my 2020 adventure – not what I had hoped for when I boarded my yacht in Menorca but with a fortunate outcome nevertheless. I am extremely grateful for the kindness and assistance I received from Maud and Camille and I would also like to extend my thanks to my flight crew, nurse and everyone at TAG Aviation who were so helpful and supportive.