Home' Air Force News : May 9th 2013 Contents 3
May 9, 2013
ANOTHER solo yachtsman in peril has
been plucked from Australia's waters, thanks
largely to the work of 37SQN.
On April 19, Sergey Zhukov was pulled
from his damaged yacht by a Victoria Police
helicopter 220km south of Gippsland, amid a
But it was the efforts of a 37SQN
Hercules crew, who had found Mr Zhukov's
yacht and marked it for rescuers, that guaran-
teed his recovery.
It follows the rescue of French solo
yachtsman Alain Delord from the Southern
Ocean on January 18-20, in which 37SQN
C-130Js again played a key role.
Russian yachtsman Mr Zhukov, a veteran
of two Atlantic crossings, came to grief on
April 19 in the Bass Strait as heavy seas dis-
masted his vessel.
With water entering his yacht, he was
forced to activate an emergency beacon.
The Rescue Coordination Centre request-
ed Defence assistance in the search and res-
cue effort, which led to the dispatch of an
Air Force C-130J and a Navy Seahawk heli-
The Hercules departed from RAAF Base
Richmond and took over search duties from a
civilian Challenger 604 at 12.10pm.
Joined by the Seahawk, the two aircraft
tracked the emergency signal and found the
beacon floating in the water -- but saw no evi-
dence of a yacht.
The Seahawk was forced to return
because of low fuel, and the C-130J crew
expanded their search area.
Among the volunteer observers on board
the Hercules was FLTLT Daniel Kruger, a
pilot with 37SQN.
It was by sheer chance that, at 1.31pm, he
spotted the yacht.
"The white yacht was barely visible
in comparison to the white caps and large
sea state," FLTLT Kruger said. "The main
reason I saw the yacht was the contrast of
the straight lines of the hull compared to
the white caps that I had been looking at
throughout the search.
"It took about a second for me to compute
this to words and announce 'Contact right
three o'clock going under the right wing
The C-130J banked to pass directly over
the yacht, its crew witnessing Mr Zhukov in
a red survival suit, waving enthusiastically
from the deck.
Despite having a Russian-speaker on
board the Hercules, the crew were not able to
raise Mr Zhukov on their radios.
Loadmasters on the C-130J dropped
smoke flares and sea dye markers to make
the yacht easier to spot.
A Dauphin rescue helicopter from
Victoria Police followed the smoke markers
to find Mr Zhukov's yacht, the helicopter's
fuel load allowing a 20-minute window to
conduct the recovery.
Amid winds of up to 80km/h and seas
as high as eight metres, Mr Zhukov was
winched aboard the helicopter, with the
Hercules remaining on station throughout the
Deputy Chief Joint Operations RADM
Steve Gilmore praised the rapid coordination
and response provided by the Air Force and
"The Navy and Air Force very quickly
provided platforms and personnel to sup-
port this rescue, giving the vessel in dis-
tress and its solo yachtsman the best chance
of survival in some treacherous conditions
off Australia's East Coast," RADM Gilmore
"This rescue is a great example of
Defence working with the civilian authorities
and a sailor who was in grave danger is now
safe," RADM Gilmore said.
Dingo Air answers call
A SURVEY task quickly turned
into a lifesaving rescue for a 38SQN
King Air crew after their timely
response to a call for help.
FLTLTs Anthony Thorpe and
Julian Rishworth were flying Dingo
006, a King Air on an Army survey
task near Townsville, on April 16
when they received a request from
Air Traffic Control (ATC) to investi-
gate an emergency beacon.
FLTLT Rishworth said the bea-
con had been traced to an area 40
nautical miles off Cape Upstart,
close to Townsville.
They headed to the search area
and were first to arrive on the scene.
"We sighted a boat three to four
metres in length, and as we spotted
them, they let off a flare," FLTLT
"We maintained constant radio
communications with ATC as they
dispatched a rescue helicopter and
The rescue helicopter made the
40-minute flight from Townsville to
the boat, during which time the crew
of Dingo 006 stayed in visual range
of the stricken vessel.
Two Army members on board
the King Air for the survey task
assisted as an extra set of eyes,
keeping watch on the boat.
"Once the helicopter arrived, we
continued to relay information and
discovered the boat had suffered
a complete electrical failure with
DINGO 006 TO THE RESCUE: A King Air crew spotted a stricken
vessel off Townsville on April 16.
Photo: CPL Colin Dadd
SUCCESSFUL SEARCH: A 37SQN Hercules assisted in a search and rescue task by locating a
damaged yacht in rough seas near Gippsland. Above is imagery taken from video footage of the
rescue shot aboard the Hercules.
Photos: SGT Ricky Fuller
Top spot in
no communications, and were una-
ble to start their engines," FLTLT
The rescue helicopter passed
down a radio, establishing com-
munication with the vessel, while
another boat arrived on the scene to
assist in restoring power.
With the job complete, the crew
of Dingo 006 returned to base.
While the majority of 38SQN's
tasking is transport and survey
work, they are frequently called
out to assist with search and rescue
work in northern Queensland.
"We're not really strangers
to this type of work," FLTLT
"It's very fulfilling to be a
Links Archive April 25th 2013 May 23rd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page