Home' Air Force News : February 14th 2013 Contents 3
February 14, 2013
ses ion in
(Home and Investment);
(DHOAS, HPAS etc).
Call for help answered
BUNDABERG'S highest recorded
floodwaters saw an armada of aircraft
descend on the city's airport in late
Key among them was a pair
of 37SQN C-130Js, which deliv-
ered Defence personnel on January
29, including a two-person Mobile
Airfield Engineering Team (MAET).
The MAET's job was critical -- assess
the strength of Bundaberg Airport's
tarmac surfaces so that heavier air-
craft, like 36SQN C-17As, could land.
The big airlifters were urgently
needed to deliver bladders of aviation
turbine fuel to replenish Bundaberg's
supply after a relentless rescue effort
by Army and civilian helicopters --
including the CHC search and rescue
helicopter from RAAF Base Amberley
-- depleted the airport's fuel.
Leading the MAET into
Bundaberg, airfield engineer FLTLT
Lee Carruthers said their role was
to conduct a survey of pavement
strength, following concerns due to
"We conducted an assessment
using a dynamic cone penetrometer
to test different locations along the
runway, taxiway and parking apron,"
FLTLT Carruthers said.
"We use the results to determine
the California Bearing Ratio of the
tarmac surface, which is the standard
unit of measurement used for pave-
During the assessment, Bundaberg
Airport's runway remained busy.
"The main complicating factor was
the amount of air traffic at the airfield
meant continuous interruptions to our
work," FLTLT Carruthers said.
"The test locations were right next
to the pavement, and we were required
to vacate the runway every time air-
craft used these areas."
The assessment was complet-
ed, and initially cleared Bundaberg
A SHOW OF SUPPORT
AFTER the evacuation mission
wrapped up, a 38SQN KA350 King Air
aircraft continued to provide support,
while on the ground, ADF personnel
helped with clean-up and recovery
efforts in the Bundaberg area.
About 300 personnel, mostly from
Army, were sent to the devastated
region in the wake of flooding from
the swollen Burnett River.
The soldiers searched the shat-
tered remains of north Bundaberg for
missing persons and joined the "Mud
Army" of civilian volunteers cleaning
out houses inundated by floodwater.
Army tradesmen were sent on plumb-
ing and electrical tasks around the
region while 11,000 litres and three
pallets of bottled water were delivered
to the town of Eidsvold.
Combat engineers built a tem-
porary crossing covering damaged
sections of a bridge linking north and
Soldiers were also sent to
Bundaberg hospital to help with the
clean-up while others cleared fallen
trees and debris from roads.
Airport for C-17As at lighter operating
A C-17A brought in a forklift and
fuel bladders, before a second trip
had them deliver a landcruiser and
12 pallets of cargo, including refrig-
erator units, along with two military
members and four emergency services
"Another inspection was conduct-
ed after the first C-17A movement,"
FLTLT Carruthers said.
"As there was no runway dam-
age, the aerodrome operator agreed
to increase the original recommended
all-up weight of C-17As arriving on
A 38SQN KA350 King Air was
used to deliver spare parts for Army's
5 Aviation Regiment S70A Black
Hawks. It dropped off Black Hawk
parts brought from Townsville to
Bundaberg in two flights.
A King Air also flew from
Amberley to Bundaberg to deliver
Search party to the rescue
MORE than 60 people were rescued in
24 hours during the Bundaberg floods
on January 28 by the crew of the CHC
Search and Rescue helicopter based at
After reaching Bundaberg, the crew
was sent on a number of urgent medi-
cal transfers from the Oakwood State
School evacuation centre, before they
joined the search and rescue efforts
with Army Black Hawks and other
civilian rescue helicopters.
The crew were doing a final search
of flood-affected homes around the
Burnett River when they spotted a per-
son waving in distress from a house
being consumed by floodwaters.
Another helicopter moved into
an overwatch position and crewman
Shane Brown was winched onto the
"We have two people here, there's
water everywhere and the house is fall-
ing apart, we have to get these guys
out of here," Mr Brown radioed back.
The following day, with the
floodwaters about to peak, the crew
conducted a final sweep of houses
along the river and crewman Lance
Wilkinson noticed an arm waving a
yellow rag from one of the houses.
"The crew discussed what could be
done, as the man was not able to climb
onto his roof due to rising floodwa-
ters," Mr Wilkinson said.
"It was going to mean sending our
rescue swimmer into the water and
swim to the house."
Rescue crewman Dave Rowland
donned a wetsuit and went into the
water to pull himself onto the ledge the
man was standing on.
Within 30 seconds the survivor was
briefed, the rescue harness attached
and ready for extraction.
By this time, first officer Mischa
Hodalin had noticed someone else in
"As we were hovering to retrieve
Dave and the survivor, I spotted move-
ment out of the corner of my eye," he
"It was another arm waving out of
As the person being winched was
injured and in some distress, Captain
Simon Dove marked the position in
the aircraft's computer and rushed the
survivor to medical care before return-
ing to the scene for the second person.
With limited time at the scene, the
crew were confronted with power lines
and trees at the front of the house.
Mr Rowland was winched onto a
single step left on a stairwell destroyed
at the rear of the home.
As this last victim was pulled into
the aircraft he was elated and yelled to
the crew: "I thought you weren't going
to come back!"
The crew returned to Amberley the
following day, after completing more
than 12 flying hours and over 60 evac-
uations with multiple winched rescues.
HARD WORK: From back left, crewman Shane Brown, first officer
Mischa Hodalin, aircrewman Lance Wilkinson, crewman David
Rowland and captain Simon Dove.
Photo: LACW Jessica de Rouw
RESTOCKING: Personnel move fuel bladders out of a C-17A.
ON TASK: About 68,039kg of
cargo was moved to Bundaberg.
MUCH-NEEDED SUPPLIES: The Mobile Air Load Team from
1AOSS prepares pallets of equipment and stores to be loaded
on to Air Force aircraft at Brisbane Airport. Photos: CPL Janine Fabre
members of the Joint Task Force as
well as Mobile Air Load Team person-
nel to work in Bundaberg.
By the end of the mission, about
68,039kg of cargo had been moved to
Bundaberg, including fuel in bladders
and Queensland emergency services
equipment and some stores by C-17A.
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