FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A volunteer shot while working in Haiti and the flight crew that rescued him reunited Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale.
Chad Esh, 21, was riding in the back of a truck outside Port-au-Prince on the way to a mission project Jan. 16 when he was shot and left to possibly bleed to death.
"At that point, I thought that this was it," Esh said.
Paramedics and pilots with Trinity Air Ambulance, based in Fort Lauderdale, evacuated Esh, as University of Cincinnati doctors, who were working as volunteers in Haiti, tended to him. He got to call his mother.
"I remember telling her I loved her," Esh said.
On Tuesday, Esh was reunited with the crew at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and got a chance to tour the jet used to fly him to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.
Esh credits his faith, his family and new friends with helping him recover.
"Without some divine intervention, I wouldn't be here," Esh said. "Everything had to work perfect for me to stay alive."
He had a special message for the men who shot and robbed him.
"I can't hate them. I've forgiven then," Esh said.
Esh said he wants to return to Haiti despite what's happened.
"I have a lot of friends there. I lived there for three and a half months, and I'd love to go back and see them," Esh said. "Also, there's the dump truck driver that took me to the hospital, I would love to go back and see him, and just continue to help the people of Haiti. There's so much need there, and so many people that need our help, so I want to go back there and continue that."
Esh was the second American to be shot in Haiti this month. David Bompart, 50, of Columbus, Ohio, was shot and robbed in Haiti earlier this month. His wife said he was shot as he was leaving a bank with money for an orphanage the couple is building there.
Bompart was flown to Miami for treatment after receiving two surgeries in Haiti.
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