One of two 'survivors' of a downed helicopter is plucked to safety by a PLA helicopter crew in a simulated search-and-rescue mission off Hong Kong yesterday.
Air-sea rescue units were mobilised to recover two men after the helicopter crash near the Kwo Chau islands at about 1pm.
Officials hailed the annual joint training exercise involving the People's Liberation Army and various local departments as the 'foundation' of Hong Kong's search-and-rescue capabilities. 'Should an air accident occur within our airspace, we have a critical situation where every second counts,' said the director-general of Civil Aviation, Norman Lo Shung-man.
High-ranking PLA army, navy and air force officials, delegates from Beijing and Guangdong, and senior Hong Kong government staff enjoyed a buffet lunch aboard a PLA navy launch before overseeing the exercise.
Moments after the first mayday call, a PLA Z9 helicopter, two PLA navy boats, a Government Flying Service (GFS) Super Puma helicopter, a GFS Gulfstream jet, a Fire Services Department dive and salvage crew, and several marine police boats converged on the crash site.
The PLA chopper crew took about four minutes to rescue the first survivor, while the GFS air-sea rescue team winched their man from the water in less than one minute.
But one senior official said: 'It is not a competition. We have to have a draw, there can be no winners in joint training exercises.'