Government Flying Service received a rescue request from Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on 2nd July 2022 07:25 am. A marine maintenance vessel located approximately about 300km southwest of Hong Kong, suffered substantial damage and had broken up with about 30 seamen onboard. All seamen have abandoned the ship and were waiting for to be rescued.
The distressed vessel was located very close to the centre of Typhoon Chaba, in which the harsh and severe weather conditions made the rescue operation much more difficult. The on-scene wind speed reached 144km/h, visibility was down to 500m in heavy rain, sea-state was nearly 10m high. In addition to the extreme weather condition, there were a number of windfarms located in the vicinity which increased the difficulty and danger of our operation.
Challenger 605 fixed-wing aircraft arrived on scene first and took up the on scene command role to coordinate incoming rescue helicopters. Multiple H175 helicopters were deployed and arrived subsequently to conduct the rescue. 3 seamen were picked up successfully by the helicopter and sent back to GFS headquarters for further hospital treatment.
In the following days, GFS continued to deploy CL605 fixed wing aircraft to search for survivors. GFS also coordinated with various rescue efforts from the Mainland for an extensive search area in the Southern sea. In total, GFS has deployed 14 sorties of CL605 fixed wing aircraft, 6 sorties of H175 helicopters, 40 pilots and 28 aircrewman officers. GFS has logged more than 90 flying hours.