Exercise shows Navy's rescue skills
PHUKET: Around 500 people showed up at Cape Panwa yesterday morning (July 10) to watch the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command carry out a full-scale search-and-rescue exercise using helicopters.
Wednesday 11 July 2012, 09:11AM
The exercise was held partly to reassure local people and visitors about their safety in the case of a marine disaster such as a ship sinking, a tsunami or a violent storm.
During the exercise, 10 “victims” were rescued from a “burning” fishing boat off the coast of Cape Panwa.
An emergency call was made and the navy radio received the message to begin the rescue, which involved coordinating with the emergency rescue team from Vachira Hospital, the Kusondharm Foundation, and the navy’s rescue helicopter. The National Disaster Warning Center also alerts others in the area of the pending rescue.
Four boats were sent to rescue the group. Two seriously “injured” people were taken directly to Vachira Hospital, with the others, suffering “minor injuries”, were treated in an emergency makeshift hospital set up on shore.
The rescue helicopter also “rescued” a person floating in the sea by dropping a frogman who then attached both of them to a cable so they could both be winched into the chopper.
Vice Admiral Tharathorn Kajitsuwan, the Commander of Third Naval Area Commandsaid, “We are very glad to be able to serve residents and tourists to keep them safe.”
There are helicopter landing pads on the Similan Islands, Lipe Island, Surin Island, and Racha Island should the navy helicopter be required for rescue.
Lieutenant General Harit Poomhira, Chief Director of Civil Affairs, said cooperation between authorities was the key to a successful rescue in an emergency situation.
“Nothing is impossible if we are prepared and ready.”
There was also a turtle release held after the training exercise.
On Saturday (July 7), the navy was involved in a rescue that was no drill, rescuing a Chinese woman who lost consciousness while snorkelling near Racha Yai island. She was taken to Racha Yai first, before being transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital.