27 April 2014
Image from Kiwi Rescue 795 as it helps in the rescue of a stricken yachtie off the coast of Perth.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion 'Kiwi Rescue 795', taking part in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370) was called on to locate a yacht in distress off the coast of Perth yesterday.
"We were returning from a sortie in search of evidence of MH370 when we were retasked to investigate a reported distress beacon", said Kiwi Rescue 795 pilot, Flight Lieutenant Dave Smith from Southland.
"Using the signal from the beacon and our radar we were able to locate the yacht ELKAN with one person on board. The yacht was sinking with the water line level to the top of the hull.
"We were then able to assist a rescue helicopter from Perth to locate the vessel and effect a rescue by winching the person to safety.
“We had limited time available to us before we had to land so it was great to be able help with the rescue", said Flight Lieutenant Smith.
So far, about 40 RNZAF personnel have been part of the Kiwi Rescue 795 detachment, and the P-3K2 has searched around 1.5 million square kilometres of the Southern Indian Ocean – an area about eight times the size of New Zealand.
Acting Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Mike Yardley says the kiwi team are doing an outstanding job representing their country and seamlessly assisting other countries at the same time.
"The Kiwi Rescue Crew have been doing an outstanding job, and I am very proud of them all," says AVM Yardley.