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NZDF recognised for rescue missions

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/05/2017
RNZAF crew fly low level across Hawkes Bay in Napier, New Zealand. © Kerry Marshall/Getty Images RNZAF crew fly low level across Hawkes Bay in Napier, New Zealand.

New Zealand Defence Force personnel have been recognised for saving the lives of five people in two separate search and rescue missions in treacherous conditions.

The first operation involved RNZAF No.3 Squadron, which has been awarded a New Zealand Search and Rescue Council (NZSAR) Certificate of Achievement.

On February 17, 2016, an NH90 helicopter crew rescued two tourists trapped by incoming tide on the Archway Rocks off Wharariki Beach in Golden Bay.

Helicopter Loadmaster Corporal Aeron Mellish was on her first SAR mission and had 30 minutes of daylight left.

After being winched down in 50-knot wind gusts, she had to climb around a rock face to reach the couple and get them on the helicopter.

In a ceremony at Parliament on Wednesday, NZSAR also recognised the role played by the RNZAF No.5 Squadron last June 13 to 14.

A P-3K2 Orion on fisheries patrol was diverted to a yacht in distress in stormy conditions 300 nautical miles north-west of New Zealand.

One person on the yacht had died after being hit by the boom, while another had been lost overboard.

The surviving three crew activated their distress beacon and the Orion located the boat 90 minutes later.

A second Orion was dispatched the following day to help in the rescue of the sailors by merchant vessel Southern Lily.

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