A retired helicopter pilot has learnt that Helicopter Tjungurrayi was the young boy whose life he helped save at about age 10.
The woman then brought forward a pitifully thin boy, about 10 years old, with swollen joints. Mr Ferguson thought he might have had rickets, although it is still not known what was wrong with him. He felt the child might die without medical attention. “I gestured that they could come back with us to Balgo, and walked away.”
The pair clambered into the helicopter. He then flew them 290km to Balgo mission. Mr Ferguson last saw them sitting in a Land Rover, the woman clad in a floral dress, and the boy naked. “I never knew what happened to the boy and his mother. I thought they were dead.”
Helicopter, whose nickname stuck, told his rescuer he had not been afraid of getting into the helicopter, especially when he looked down. “I saw a little truck on the ground, but I thought it was a porcupine (echidna).”