Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 1 February 2015

Richardson: Tribal fight was scary

A member of the Moni Tribe poses by the aeroplane in Channel 4's Worst Place To Be A Pilot
A member of the Moni Tribe poses by the aeroplane in Channel 4's Worst Place To Be A Pilot

Pilot Guy Richardson has revealed how he was caught in the middle of a clash of clans while flying in Indonesia.

The Surrey-born pilot, who stars in Channel 4's new documentary Worst Place To Be A Pilot, admitted it was one of the "hairier moments" during his time with local Indonesian airline Susi Air.

"When we first went up to the mountains, we had quite a dicey incident where two local tribes had come together and clashed," he recalled.

"As we were flying over, we saw 200 people halfway down (the mountain) and 200 people at the top as the two clans walked towards each other. I remember thinking, 'This is like watching a film'. They were throwing spears and knives at each other."

He continued: "The following day, we took armed police, which we thought was going to protect us, but they jumped in their 4x4s and we were left with this huge crowd... all lined around the airport with spears, bow and arrows and big knives.

" There was one guy who had an arrow sticking out of his stomach, and we managed to take him out. That was one of the hairier moments because it felt like at any time, they could turn their anger towards us."

Guy said taking off and landing were never easy: "We get a lot of rejected take-offs and a lot of aborted landings and this is due to stuff on the runway. If it's not a drunk person, it's someone going over the runway on a moped or there'll be goats and cows."

The pilot said it takes days for him to adjust to UK life whenever he returns.

"For the first few days to a week, I struggle. It feels like a reverse culture shock," he admitted.

:: Worst Place To Be A Pilot airs at 9pm on Channel 4 tonight (August 19).

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