AC/DC kept Black Hawk Down victim’s hopes alive
Black Hawk Down survivor Michael Durant has recalled how AC/DC kept his hopes alive while he lay critically injured as a prisoner in Somalia.
Durant was a helicopter pilot involved in the US military’s 1993 attempt to capture Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid in Moagadishu.
Two Black Hawks, including Durant’s, were shot out of the sky during the mission, which resulted in his entire team being killed.
After 11 days in captivity he was freed and eventually recovered from his wounds – but he remembered the moment AC/DC became his icon for survival.
In a newly released clip from unofficial AC/DC documentary Beyond The Thunder, Durant says: “I get shot down and we’re forced to fight it out on our own. The enemy overruns us – when they do that they kill everybody.
“They initially looked like they were going to kill me, but somebody realised I had a value as a live prisoner. In the process I got my cheekbone, nose and eye socket broken. It was terrifying – am I going to live through the next five seconds?”
Durant had also sustained a broken back during the crash. He remembered lying in pain and hearing US helicopters flying overhead.
He explains: “When you’re in captivity and you hear an aircraft, the first thing you think is, ‘Do they know where I am?’
“Then I hear this ‘Bong.’ and the beginning of Hell’s Bells. It was an incredible moment. They had loudspeakers attached to this Black Hawk and they were flying around broadcasting. The hope was that I would hear.
“Immediately following the song I hear this voice: ‘Mike, we won’t leave here without you.’ It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Beyond The Thunder is a movie about how AC/DC have touched so many lives with their music. Despite the band’s management not having acknowledges its existence, the film has won an award for its trailer and was featured at last year’s Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards. FInd out more.