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Successful Air Force Search & Rescue In Samoa

Press Release – New Zealand Defence Force

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Iroquois helicopter was launched from Apia in Samoa to search for a tourist who was swept out to sea yesterday afternoon. The man was found on an isolated beach worse for wear but alive and well.

SAR pilot FLTLT Dan Pezaro from No. 3 Squadron with rescued French tourist Christopher Courtarb.
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SAR pilot FLTLT Dan Pezaro from No. 3 Squadron with rescued French tourist Christopher Courtarb.

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Pānui pāpāho/Media Release

30 o Hōngongoi 2009/30 July 2009
SUCCESSFUL AIR FORCE SEARCH & RESCUE IN SAMOA
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Iroquois helicopter was launched from Apia in Samoa to search for a tourist who was swept out to sea yesterday afternoon. The man was found on an isolated beach worse for wear but alive and well.

The French tourist staying at one of the resorts on the island of Savaii was swimming with his companion when he was swept out beyond the reef and into the open ocean. He managed to battle his way back to the rocky shoreline where he was found by the Iroquois crew this morning.

The RNZAF was called into assist by the Rescue Coordination Centre in New Zealand and launched from Apia at 7.00am local time. They found the man within 30 minutes of the search and winched him aboard the aircraft. He was returned to the resort where he was escorted to the local police station and hospital.

Four RNZAF Iroquois helicopters are in Apia taking part in Exercise TROPIC ASTRA 09 on the main Samoan island of Upolo from 29 July to 01 September 2009. The first RNZAF elements arrived in Apia aboard HMNZS CANTERBURY on Tuesday and the main contingent of RNZAF personnel are due into Apia in the next few days.

Squadron Leader David Brensell from the RNZAF Expeditionary Support Squadron (ESS) said, “The man was very fortunate that he managed to make it back to shore. The RNZAF is always prepared to assist in search and rescue either in New Zealand or overseas. We were glad that in this occasion there was a successful outcome for all concerned.”

ENDS

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