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A dramatic memoir of life as a helicopter rescue pilot in Ireland.
David Courtney knows. A rescue pilot with some 300 missions under his belt, he has seen tragedy and triumph up close and personal. Nine Lives is an account of becoming a rescue pilot from the very start – learning to fly – to the thrills and terrors of dangerous and complicated night rescues. As the story unfolds Courtney introduces the reader to the many people who work with rescue crews, and how the entire system works. But more than that, contrasting the dramatic with the mundane, Courtney delves into ordinary day-to-day family life. From the birth of his children to the death of his father, showing how the mundane can empower each of us to confront the dramatic.
Many rescues take place in the worst of weather, in the dead of night, with the rescue crews setting out unseen, when most would seek the comfort of a fireplace or a warm bed. Often the last hope for those awaiting them. Then returning with the relieved, the injured and sometimes the dead, or leaving behind the missing, the lost at sea.
Blunt and open about fear, danger, disappointment, elation and happiness, the book tells the story of his journey through adulthood and the appreciation of the here and now, that rescue brings.
- Mercier Press, August 2008
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