Search-and-rescue drill simulates helicopter crash

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong's PLA garrison, the Government Flying Service and staff of six government departments were put through their paces yesterday in a search-and-rescue exercise simulating a helicopter crash at sea.

The annual exercise, run by the Civil Aviation Department, began with a simulated crash off Tung O Wan, Lamma Island, causing the helicopter to catch fire.

First to arrive on the scene was a GFS plane. The crew made several passes over the area searching for 'victims' while co-ordinating operations below.

Next to arrive were two PLA vessels, including a helicopter and a missile-armed coastal patrol vessel.

The Z9 helicopter lifted a PLA sailor acting as a victim out of the water, winching him aboard the patrol boat while hovering just metres above.

The helicopter then made another approach and winched the sailor up from the vessel, supposedly to airlift him to hospital after the boat's crew had given him first aid.

The PLA then made way for a Hong Kong fire boat, the crew of which 'put out' the simulated blaze and sent in divers to check below the surface.

A second helicopter - a GFS Eurocopter Super Puma - arrived on the scene to pluck a second 'victim' from the water.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Department said the exercise had been a success.