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Posted by on Oct 19, 2012 in Curiosities, Present |

A commercial flight of Air Canada helps locate a sailor on the Australian coast

A commercial flight of Air Canada helps locate a sailor on the Australian coast

What lived AC033 flight passengers of bound for Sydney could soon be a Hollywood production. The with 18 passengers and crew, heroes today in Australia, achieved a feat to divert its flight path to help locate a ship adrift on the East Coast. The result, the flight spotted the boat and saved the life of one crew member on board.

The story would begin after receiving emergency alert AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) on a ship adrift at 500 km east of Sydney. The AMSA then notify the Air Canada flight AC033, a Boeing 777 en route from Vancouver to Sydney, that if he could carry out the risky maneuver to divert the plane to find the area where the ship. According to the AMSA Jo Meehan:

The ship’s location was in the flight path, so it was necessary to assess the situation and the Boeing 777 was the only asset available to us at that time.

The flight captain piloting the plane, Andrew Robertson, was contacted by the Australian air traffic control requesting the opportunity to help. An unusual situation that Robertson has narrated the same way:

I received the message that there was a boat, a yacht in distress that seemed to have sunk. They said they were the ones we were closer to the action space and asked about the possibility of helping in the search.

Robertson asked the exact location for the crew team could assess the fuel at their disposal for the maneuver:

We turn on the computer and evaluate just taking the decision that we could pull it off, we had enough fuel.

Still, Robertson notes that the flight management program ignores the loss that occurs when falling in altitude and then rise again. In any event, there was thought that sufficient fuel. The 18 crew members who had the Boeing descended and began the work of search circling over the area and looking through binoculars provided by several passengers.

We advise passengers of the maneuver that we would do and we advise you that any aid was little because even descending was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Shortly after beginning the descent, my first official saw something. From 5,000 feet descended to 3.7000 feet … what appeared three people were eventually cover just one.

A commercial flight of Air Canada helps locate a sailor on the Australian coast image 2

As the master account, a plane like the 777 is too big to fly as low performing search and duties. If we add that it is a highly durable flight crossing the Pacific Ocean, it would be normal to have met with some passengers alarmed:

Still, we can only say that passengers were impressive. We did not hear any complaints about the diversion. It was very exciting, we were all proud of the result.

After reporting on the location of the ship, a police boat could reach the ship adrift saving the sailor on board a few hours later. This was a man who sailed for two weeks only towards Eden. The man said he was adrift for a week.

An unusual story where the courage of a captain and crew along with the passengers managed to get a commercial flight descended to dangerous and could lead to man adrift. A story that AMSA has explained itself as an “anomaly” with a happy ending:

It is common and so we try to prevent these things from happening. Was due to the nature of the incidents and the only way to find the boat was relying on commercial airline.

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