12 February 2009
Five New Zealand Defence Force firefighters will head to Melbourne tomorrow as part of the National Rural Fire Authority contingent to assist Australian fire crews as they battle the bushfires in the state of Victoria.
The New Zealand firefighters, including those from the NZDF, will depart Auckland International Airport tomorrow afternoon aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force Boeing 757.
Commander of Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Rhys Jones said he was pleased the NZDF could offer assistance and had confidence in the team heading across the Tasman.
“There is no doubt that the personnel heading to Australia will face a challenging situation, but I am confident their training and professionalism will see them meet that challenge.
“In order it get everyone to Melbourne quickly so they can get on with the necessary tasks, the newly upgraded Air Force’s Boeing 757 will be used for transport,” said Major General Jones.
With the arrival home yesterday of the second upgraded RNZAF Boeing 757, both aircraft are now in the country.
For more information please contact Anna Sussmilch, Defence Communications Group on 04 496 0286 or 021 676 338.
Currently 488 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.