The photo of the hold full of people went around the world: According to the crew, the spectacular evacuation from Kabul with a US transport aircraft did not bring around 640 people to safety, as originally stated, but more than 800.
“We were there to bring hope and freedom,” said team leader Lt. Col. Eric Kut on Friday the broadcaster CNN. At the moment it was not about regulations, but about bringing women and children to safety and saving lives.
The soldier responsible for the cargo Justin Triola said there were 823 passengers. “They were concerned and wanted to get out of the area, and we were happy to take them with us. And they were definitely happy once we were in the air, ”he said.
“It’s about human life”
The US Air Force’s Boeing C-17 transport aircraft can normally carry around 300 passengers each during evacuations. In this case, panicked Afghans had stormed the plane on Sunday in the midst of the chaos at Kabul airport, as the website “Defense One” reported.
The crew decided to fly the people out to Qatar instead of having them disembark. “In such moments, rules and maximum capacities are irrelevant,” says Captain Eric Kut. “It’s about human life and we are trained for moments like this.” That’s why he gave the take-off permit without checking the passengers’ papers.
The floor of the C-17 was no longer visible in the photo because of the people. The US Department of Defense confirmed the process on Tuesday, but did not provide any details about the number of passengers. (zis / SDA)