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Paul Verster decided to quit his career as a pilot in the South African Air Force as his heart was no longer in it after his pregnant girlfriend was brutally attacked and raped that eventually led to her suicide.

He decided, wit the support of his foster mother who raised him as her own, to travel to the UK to find his biological mother who abandoned him when he was still a baby. During his search, he met and fell in love with an Irish student who brought new purpose in his life.

Back in South Africa, his zest for flying and adventure has returned and, against the will of his foster mother, volunteered as a Citizen Force Pilot with the South African Air Force to fly sorties to the border where the army was engaged in the Angolan Bush War. After a daring mission to rescue a group of trapped soldiers, he found himself trapped in a camp commanded by a diamond smuggling officer operating under the pretense of being a South African Fighting Unit. In an attempt to escape from this camp, he was captured by the MPLA guerillas and taken to a camp where the only penalty for an enemy of the MPLA was death by firing squad.



Andre van Wyk was born in Touwsriver, a small town in the Karoo, where he attended the Touwsriver Primary School before his parents moved to the Hex Valley. He finished his high school educaiton at the Hex Valley High School and joined the South African Air Force but had to leave after a serious accident. He then studied Architecture and later also gained a diploma in Structural Design.


His passion was flying, and when introduced to hot air ballooning, he was immediately hooked. In 1987, he was elected to represent SOuth Africa at the World Hot Air Balloon Championships in Austria for which he received his Springbok Colours. In 1994, he moved to England, where he started his own ballooning business.


After 20 years of commercial ballooning, he decided to retire and wrote his first novel, Skeletons in a Desert. While searching for a publisher, he wrote Whirlwinds, Tumble Bush and Barlinka Rains.