Delight as Hannah (5) meets her
by Linda McGrory
THERE was a special reunion at Casement Aerodrome
when five-year old Hannah Connolly dropped in to
thank the Air Corps crew who airlifted her to
hospital as a critically-ill newborn.
Little Hannah from Killea, Co Donegal urgently
required treatment at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick
Children in Crumlin, Dublin, the day after her birth
in November 2009.
Thanks to her helicopter heroes who speedily
transported her from Letterkenny to Dublin, she got
the treatment she needed and has made a full
Bubbly Hannah and her parents Louise and Eddie made
the special trip to Baldonnel this week to meet
again with Captain Finbar McArdle, who was the pilot
on Hannah’s life-saving mission, his co-pilot
Captain Michael Noonan and Airman Dave Tiernan.
Hannah Connolly (5) is reunited with
the Irish Air Corps crew who airlifted her from
Donegal to Dublin as a critically ill newborn baby
in 2009. From left, the pilot on the mission,
Captain Finbar McArdle; co-pilot, Captain Michael
Noonan and seated below, Airman Dave Tiernan.
Hannah's mum Louise
said her "wee princess" was a happy and healthy
child thanks to the emergency care she received as a
"She had to get to Dublin as quick as possible and
only for these men at the Irish Air Corps this would
never have been possible," she said.
“Thanks to them along with the staff at Our Lady's
Children Hospital in Crumlin we have an absolutely
happy healthy wee princess that lights up every
minute of our lives."
Hannah was suffering from pulmonary atresia when she
was born which means one of her main heart valves
wasn't fully developed. She also had two holes in
her heart. She had open heart surgery at six days
old and again at two years old.
Hannah Connolly from Co Donegal meets
Air Corps pilot Captain Finbar McArdle five years
after he flew the helicopter that transported her as
a neonatal emergency patient from Letterkenny to
Hannah was presented
during Thursday’s visit with a special Air Corps
teddy bear which crews give to comfort young
children on an emergency flight.
But the crew were surprised when the youngster
produced the original one – complete with its little
flying suit and cap - they had given her five years
Air Corps spokesman Captain Brendan O'Dowd said:
"The Air Corps complete over 100 air ambulances
every year and the crews rarely hear how our special
passengers get on.
"Meeting Hannah and seeing her full of life is a
great reminder to our crews of the difference they
can make and why we do our best to provide this
service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year