|A RNZAF P-3K2 Orion aircraft deployed to Hawaii for Exercise RIMPAC. RNZAF Photo.|
July 16, 2016 - A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion taking part in Exercise RIMPAC in Hawaii has helped in a successful search and rescue for two people in a light aircraft which went missing about 25 miles north-west of Kona, the Big Island, yesterday afternoon.
The twin-engine aircraft was en route from Maui to Kona when the pilot reported an emergency, and the aircraft disappeared from radar shortly afterwards. The RNZAF Orion was diverted to the search from a RIMPAC flight, to assist US Coast Guard and US Navy units.
The pair were found at about 9.45am New Zealand time today after some 22 hours in the water, and winched to safety by a US Coast Guard helicopter. They had lifejackets on and were swimming to shore when located.
The Commanding Officer of No 5 Squadron, Wing Commander Daniel Hunt, said that it was a great result and that the Orion crew were delighted that they had been able to help their US colleagues with the search.
“We spend a good number of flying hours each year on such missions and sometimes we don’t get the result that we and those at home hoping for good news would like,” he said.
“The successful rescue of these two people is fantastic.”The Orion will resume RIMPAC activities tomorrow, operating from its US base at Kaneohe Bay.