The image of the detainee full of people spread around the world: according to the crew, the astonishing evacuation from Kabul by an American transport plane brought not about 640 people to safety, as originally stated, but more than 800.
“We were there to bring hope and freedom,” team leader Lieutenant Colonel Eric Cote said Friday on CNN. Right now, it wasn’t about regulations, but about bringing women and children to safety and saving lives.
The soldier in charge of the shipment, Justin Triola, said there were 823 passengers. They were worried and wanted to get out of the area, and we were happy to take them with us. And they were definitely happy when we were in the air.”
It is about human life.
The US Air Force’s Boeing C-17 transport aircraft can typically carry about 300 passengers during evacuations. In this case, panicked Afghans stormed the plane Sunday amid chaos at Kabul airport, Defense One reported.
The crew decided to take the people to Qatar instead of dropping them off. “In moments like these, the rules and extreme capabilities are irrelevant,” says Captain Eric Cote. “It’s about human life and we’re trained for moments like this.” That’s why he gave the take-off without checking the passengers’ papers.
The floor of the C-17 is no longer visible in the photo to the public. The US Department of Defense confirmed the operation on Tuesday, but did not provide any details on the number of passengers. (zis/SDA)
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