Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hong Kong pilot who lost foot in Thai accident expects to fly again soon

Hong Kong - A Hong Kong pilot who lost his right foot and lower leg in a motorbike accident in Thailand was preparing Wednesday to leave hospital and said he aims to fly again within six months. Scott McDonald, 43, a senior first officer with Cathay Pacific, was hit by a speeding Honda motorcycle on Phuket, Thailand's largest island, when he pulled up by the side of a road on his Harley Davidson to take a phone call.

The motorbike slammed into him as he sat at the side of the road on his bike, slicing off his right foot and lower calf with its foot pad in the January 24 accident.

US-born McDonald, who is based in Hong Kong but lives with his girlfriend on Phuket between long-haul shifts with the airline, now aims to have a prosthetic limb fitted and to return to flying.

The Boeing 777 pilot has undergone a series of operations at the island's private Bangkok Hospital and said he expected to be discharged within days.

"I am hoping to be back on the golf course within three to four months and back in the cockpit in, I guess, five to six months," he said in a telephone interview from hospital.

There are no rules preventing people with prosthetic limbs from working as commercial airline pilots, and McDonald said he believed it would be no impediment to his work.

Nick Rhodes, Cathay Pacific's director of flight operations, said his return to the job is possible:

"There is a long road ahead, but ... we will do everything possible to ensure that Scott has a chance of resuming his flying career."

Read more: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/308417,hong-kong-pilot-who-lost-foot-in-crash-expects-to.html#ixzz0fAeAEELM

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