RAAF P-8A Poseidon assists in its first civilian search and rescue response 

The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) latest maritime surveillance and response capability—the P-8A Poseidon, has assisted with the co-ordination of a search and rescue response, approximately 50 kilometres south of Mount Gambier, Victoria.

While on a training mission from its home at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, the P-8A Poseidon, call sign Blackcat 20, intercepted a mayday call from a distressed vessel, the MV Port Princes, 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,” Wing Commander 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

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