14 November 2016
The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has mobilised multiple assets including personnel and at least three of its aircraft to support the government’s response to the massive 7.5 earthquake that hit North Canterbury just after midnight on Monday morning.
Air Commodore (AIRCDRE) Darryn Webb, the Acting Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said an NH90 medium utility helicopter from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) 3 Squadron took off from Ohakea at 5.30am to support the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.
AIRCDRE Webb said an RNZAF P-3K2 Orion surveillance aircraft from 5 Squadron left Whenuapai at 7.20am to survey main transport routes and towns from Picton to Christchurch.
Another NH90 helicopter and other aircraft have been placed on standby for other tasks, including conducting an aerial survey of areas in the Kaikoura region which reportedly suffered the brunt of the earthquake.
NZDF personnel from Burnham Military Camp and RNZAF Base Woodbourne have also been mobilised to support the Christchurch civil defence authorities.
“The Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Tim Keating, has directed that we remain ready to respond should the situation require further support,” AIRCDRE Webb said.