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ARRL Special Bulletin ARLX007 (2000)

ARLX007 Wounded Boy Transported to Dallas Hospital

QST de W1AW  
Special Bulletin 7  ARLX007
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington CT  April 3, 2000
To all radio amateurs 

ARLX007 Wounded Boy Transported to Dallas Hospital

Willem van Tuijl--the 13-year-old boy from the Netherlands wounded
during a pirate attack off Honduras--is in the US. The youngster,
the son of Amateur Radio operators Jacco and Jannie van Tuijl, KH2TD
and KH2TE, was seriously injured by a single bullet on March 28. His
father was able to summon help via the Maritime Mobile Service Net
on 20 meters.

Through contacts with amateurs in the US and elsewhere, the boy and
his mother were transported by Honduran authorities to a hospital in
La Ceiba, Honduras, where Willem underwent emergency surgery.
Arrangements were made March 31 through the office of ARRL President
Jim Haynie, W5JBP, for Willem to be flown to Children's Medical
Center of Dallas. He was reported in fair condition there April 3.

''Willem is great,'' Jacco van Tuijl said, adding that his son was
''talking and smiling'' and was aware of his medical situation. ''His
spirits are very high,'' he said.

Both parents have had little sleep in the past six days and are
nearing exhaustion because of their ordeal. They're staying at a
Ronald McDonald House near the hospital.

The Dallas hospital has agreed to accept Willem as a patient and
treat him without guaranteed payment. An SBAir Lifeguard aircraft
with a medical team from CMC was dispatched from Dallas to Honduras
the evening of March 31, and the boy and his parents arrived in the
US early the next morning.

The arrangement with Children's followed contacts by Haynie's office
with the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital--an orthopedic facility that
recommended Children's--and with US Rep Pete Sessions. Haynie's
office also was able to make arrangements for the airport in
Honduras to remain open past its usual 9 PM closing time to
accommodate the flight from the US.

A fund has been established to assist the family. Donations are
invited to Willem Fund, c/o Southwest Bank, 1603 LBJ Freeway, Suite
100, Dallas, TX 75234.

Local amateurs in the La Ceiba, Honduras, area have said they will
cover Willem's hospital expenses there.

In public statements, both parents have expressed their thanks and
gratitude to the Amateur Radio community for their assistance and
support. Jacco van Tuijl indicated the family was taking things one
day at a time at this point. ''It's a big disaster, yes,'' van Tuijl
said, ''but he didn't die.''

The incident occurred after pirates boarded the van Tuijls' sailing
sloop off Honduras on March 28 while the father and son were on an
inflatable dinghy near by. After the shooting, the pirates fled and
van Tuijl managed to get his injured son, bleeding badly, back on
board his sailboat. He then got on the radio to summon urgent help.
Among those responding was Dr Jim Hirschman, K4TCV, a Miami
physician, who was able to provide first-aid advice over the air.

The van Tuijl family has been cruising various parts of the world
since 1995. They obtained their US Amateur Radio licenses during an
extended stay in Guam.

Media interest in the story has been high. TV crews and reporters
met the boy and his family as they arrived to admit the youngster to
Children's Medical Center.


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