A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has assisted with the co-ordination of a search and rescue response, approximately 50 kilometres south of Mount Gambier, SA.
The aircraft, callsign Blackcat 20, which represents the RAAF's latest maritime surveillance and response capability, was on a training mission from RAAF Base Edinburgh in SA when it intercepted a mayday call from a distressed vessel, the MV Port Princess, around 1 pm on Tuesday, 16 May 2017.
MV Port Princess was observed taking on water, with four persons on board. Blackcat 20 provided communications assistance to aid the stricken vessel, rescuing the stricken ship’s captain and three crew.
Executive Officer for No. 92 Wing, Wing Commander Brett Williams said the successful search and rescue response by the Poseidon’s crew was a great demonstration of this remarkable aircraft.
“The P-8A Poseidon takes RAAF maritime surveillance and response capability to a new level of interoperability and performance,” WGCDR Williams said.
“This is the first search and rescue response completed by the P-8A Poseidon since the aircraft’s arrival into Australia last November. The Poseidon is still undergoing test and evaluation activities before a formal introduction into service.
“Search and rescue forms an important part of the operational test and evaluation program which we’ve laid out to bring the Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon into service,” he said.
Images of the rescue event were relayed in real-time from the aircraft to the Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.