Geoff Hazel - Evacuation and exhaustion

Running time
1 min 51 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We were evacuated to Dili. Now, I ended up getting my helicopter flight, I'd been asking for all the time. I wanted to see an aerial view of the district. I had a pretty good idea, because I'd driven all over it. But finally, when we got down there, one of the boys, I sent one off to get food, one off to get water and one off to organise accommodation for the group of us.

And it didn't matter what nationality. And anyhow, one of the other guys was basically in the company said, "I've just broken the rules and been out of my house." He said, "They've stolen everything," he said, "but they didn't touch the fridge. I've got some..." And there was enough for about half a can of beer each and one of the boys said, "Boss, relax. You got us here. We're alive. Somebody else is making the decisions now." Last thing I remember.

The next thing I remember is I'm waking up and I looked up and I thought I'm in inside of a C-130 and I'm on a stretcher. And I sat up and had a drip in. Sat up and the loadmaster was there. And I said, "How'd I get here? He said, "Lay down mate. You're 10 minutes from Darwin." In the last five days, because there was no food available in the town, the town was empty. We each had four days Australian rations. I'd used two of them.

After about 70 plus hours of no sleep, it was about two hours a day. So yeah the body just said... As soon as it's, "Hey, somebody else is doing it," bang. And apparently, they flew me to the airfield in the helicopter.

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