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Ukrainian driver awarded for saving lives during terrorist attack
Eurasia | Kabul

Ukrainian driver awarded for saving lives during terrorist attack

14 Sep 2015

Mr Igor Tehsa was awarded the IRU Grand Prix d’Honneur, as an international recognition for his act of courage and bravery in saving five lives during a terrorist attack. Mrs Oksana Tehsa accepted the award on her husband’s behalf during the opening ceremony of the IRU-AsMAP UA 16th International Transport Conference.

In late June 2013, Mr Tehsa, a Ukrainian private entrepreneur from the town of Rovno working under contract for Supreme Logistics, provided vehicles for the delivery of food supplies to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Kabul, Afghanistan. A curfew in Afghanistan prohibits trucks from driving at night. Mr Tehsa, having made the deliveries late in the day, therefore kept the five vehicles parked overnight in a parking area owned by Supreme Logistics.

At approximately 4:30 a.m. a truck stopped outside of the compound where a suicide bomber detonated the vehicle. The blast left a crater 6 metres deep by 15 metres wide and allowed three armed attackers to rush inside where they exchanged fire with security forces for almost an hour before being killed.

Undeterred, Mr Tehsa dragged five drivers, many of which had been sleeping in their cabins, out of their trucks and away from the blast epicentre. He made them take cover by laying flat under their vehicles. He also organised transport and medical care for the drivers at a British military base.

Police reported seven people killed, including three drivers, with more than 10 people wounded and over 50 trucks destroyed. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

When asked if he realised the risks he faced in rescuing his colleagues, Mr Tehsa answered, “At first we didn’t understand what had happened and then there was gunfire. The military training I received during my service in the armed forces helped me stay focused  and cautious. I knew my friends were next to me in their trucks. It was my duty to help them so that we could all come back home alive.”

Presenting the award, IRU Secretary General, Umberto de Pretto, said, “IRU is proud to have someone like Igor in its family, who conscientiously performs their duties. He is a fond husband, caring father, and a trusted companion always ready to come to the rescue even in a frightening, life-threatening situation. Thanks to his courage, resourcefulness and training, he saved five lives in an incredible act of bravery. IRU is honoured to award this hero and count him among the ranks of our profession.”