Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, was flown back to the U.S. for treatment after suffering from a kidney stone while spending the New Year’s Day holiday in the Galapagos Islands. The islands is 600 miles west off the Ecuadorian coast. According to the Ecuadorian Navy, Bezos was aboard a cruise ship traveling between the islands of Floreana and Santa Cruz when he began experiencing pains in association with stones.
Capt. Santiago Rubio, commander of the port of Santa Cruz immediately informed the navy about the need to airlift Bezos. A navy helicopter was then sent to Santa Cruz where the cruise ship was located and from there Bezos was flown to his private jet located on the nearby Baltra Island. From the island, Bezos was flown back to the U.S. for “emergency surgery” according to the Navy statement.
However, Drew Herdener, a spokesman for Bezos said that the Washington Post owner did not undergo surgery and was already feeling fine at the moment. Herdener said that Bezos even emailed: “Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars.”
The statement also mentioned that Jeff Bezos “..had to be attended to in the shortest possible time.” According to the helicopter pilot Lt. Juan Carlos Ibarra of the Ecuadorian Navy, upon landing at a football pitch to get Bezos, they learned that a doctor had already treated him on board the cruise ship and had already stabilized him. “He was conscious, but he was on a drip.” Ibarra added. Messages of thanks from Jeff Bezos relatives and co-workers were sent to Ibarra and to his co-pilot and flight engineer for their deed.
Bezos bought The Washington Post last year for $250 million ending the 80 years of Graham family control of the newspaper. The Washington Post is now owned by Nash Holdings LLC, a company controlled by Bezos and created for the purpose of the newspaper’s acquisition.
Jeff Bezos also made headlines last month when he announced that Amazon is currently experimenting with drones that can deliver packages in 30 minutes. According to him, the drones as part of a program called “Amazon Prime Air.” The drones are actually octocopters which can carry packages of up to five pounds in weight. Octocopters are helicopters with eight-rotors and are controlled electronically.
Bezos said in an earlier interview, that 86 percent of Amazon’s packages meant for deliveries are five pounds and below in weight. The delivery drones can cover a 10-mile radius from the company’s fulfillment center. Right now, the project is still on the drawing board and may be fully functional in four or five years time he added.
The 49-year-old Bezos founded Amazon in 1994 near Seattle. From there, he steadily built the business into becoming the world’s largest internet retailer it is today. The company is also pioneering the so-called “cloud or internet-based computing.” Additionally, it was Amazon who provided introduction of the Kindle e-reader, a device that enable users to shop, browse and download digital media. Based on Forbes Magazine data, Bezos is currently the world’s 19th richest person with an estimated worth of $25 billion.
With Bezos’ health becoming an issue due to a recent kidney stone problem where he was flown back to the U.S. Bezos’ many business interests, colleagues and fans wish him a full recovery.
By Roberto I. Belda