A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft has successfully located and helped rescue 15 people who were adrift at sea when their "banana boat" lost power when travelling from Nissan Island to Buka Island in Bougainville.
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Port Moresby requested assistance from Rescue Coordination Centre Australia after the boat failed to reach its destination.
Air Force Director General Capability and Planning, Air Commodore Michael Kitcher, said the rescue was another example of the excellent work being done by the RAAF in conjunction with Australia’s neighbors.
“The crew of the Orion did an excellent job in locating the boat and helping to arrange for the subsequent rescue,” Air Commodore Kitcher said.
“This is another demonstration of Air Force’s ability to be anywhere at any time and is testament to the high standard of training of our air and ground crews.”
The RAAF Orion aircraft was dispatched to Port Moresby on the evening of April 30, 2014. The aircraft launched from Port Moresby the next day and located the missing boat, dropping an SAR8 Air-Sea Rescue Kit.
The SAR8 kit, which contained two inflatable life rafts and two containers of emergency supplies, was successfully recovered by occupants of the boat. The Orion also dropped a search and rescue reference datum marker buoy.
The passengers were then rescued by a vessel dispatched by MRCC Port Moresby. No injuries were reported among the people rescued.
The Orion returned to Port Moresby after the successful completion of the task.