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Scott McDonald is confident he will be back in the air before long

Phuket Pilot Plans to Regain a Plane

Tuesday, February 9, 2010
DAILY hyperbaric chamber healing sessions and a Swedish prosthetics specialist are likely to speed the attempt by Cathay pilot Scott McDonald to get back in the air as fast as he can.

Mr McDonald is restless to fly commercial aircraft again despite a freak motorcycle accident on Phuket that cost him the lower portion of his right leg.

The 43-year-old, who lives on a boat at Sai Kung in Hong Kong and has a second boat moored at Yacht Haven on Phuket, is recovering in Bangkok Hospital Phuket Hospital, Phuket City.

With a steady streams of friends as visitors, he is anxiously awaiting delivery of a copy of the book, 'Reach for the Sky', which relates the story of Douglas Bader, a legless pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War.

''Everything I have been told has been encouraging and there is no reason why I should not be able to fly again for Cathay,'' Mr McDonald said.

Among his regular visitors has been a Swedish prosthetics manufacturer who has just opened a business on Phuket and who assured the pilot that he would get a first-rate replacement right foot on the island.

Golf, along with flying, sailing and motorcycles, remain the passions of the pilot who joined Cathay from US Airways. He hails originally from Chicago.

When Mr McDonald's mobile cell telephone rang as he was riding his Harley Davidson back to his boat at Yacht Haven soon after midnight on January 24, he did the right thing and pulled over to stop before taking the call.

Out of the dark came a speeding motorcycle that almost severed his foot as it passed.

''I was knocked into the middle of the road and I remember crawling back over to the side,'' he said. ''It was so loud, I thought it was a car that hit me.''

On the other end of the telephone, his girlfriend, Wan, who had called to ask him how far he was away from returning to the boat, heard his screams of agony.

A passerby stopped long enough to pick up the telephone, tell Wan what had happened and where. . . and then rode off, with the mobile telephone.

''Fortunately I was in hospital within 10 minutes,'' Mr McDonald said yesterday.

Doctors said he had the choice of having an attempt made to repair the damage, or amputation. Their recommendation, because of the possibility of infection, was to amputate.

There is no timetable for recovery. Mr McDonald simply has to wait until the skin around his severed leg is capable of bearing his weight in a prosthetic foot.

The hyperbaric chamber, with oxygen treatment, accellerates healing.Mr McDonald hopes that won't take long, and is looking forward to learning to walk before he can fly.

It is believed the pillion passenger on the other motorcycle escaped serious injury but the rider is still in another hospital on Phuket.

Hundreds of people in motorcycle mishaps on the island suffer permanent injuries or disabilities each year.

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