Australian Defence Force Assists in Search and Rescue off Victoria

Australian Defence Force Assists in Search and Rescue off Victoria

Australian Defence Force personnel, aircraft and a naval vessel responded to a request for assistance, after an emergency beacon was detected off the east coast.

Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia requested the assistance, and in response, the Royal Australian Air Force dispatched a C-130J Hercules aircraft equipped with search and rescue stores from Richmond in New South Wales, just after 10.00am (AEST). Concurrently, the Royal Australian Navy sent a Seahawk helicopter from HMAS Melbourne and the ship also proceeded towards the area.

Deputy Chief Joint Operations, Rear Admiral Steve Gilmore praised the rapid coordination and response provided by the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force.

“The Navy and Air Force very quickly provided platforms and personnel to support this rescue, giving the solo yachtsman the best chance of survival in some treacherous conditions off Australia’s east coast,” Rear Admiral Gilmore said.

The two aircraft arrived on the scene just after 12:15pm (AEST) and located the beacon “free floating” in the 8 to 10 metre swell. Winds in the area were in excess of 50 knots.

The aircraft subsequently located the vessel, upright and without a mast. The solo Russian yachtsman was visually identified.

“The Royal Australian Air Force C-130J remained on station, as the Seahawk returned to the mainland to refuel. The Seahawk was returning to the location, when a Victorian Police helicopter successfully winched the sailor from his vessel.

“This rescue is a great example of the ADF working with the civilian authorities and a sailor who was in grave danger is now safe,” Rear Admiral Gilmore said.

Naval Today Staff, April 22, 2013; Image: Australian Navy