3 Australian airmen safe after chopper ditched in Philippine Sea

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Three crew members of a Royal Australian Navy helicopter were safe after ditching their helicopter in the Philippine Sea.

The ditching happened during a routine flight overnight, the Australian Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

The MH-60R Seahawk chopper was operating from the destroyer HMAS Brisbane as part of a regional presence deployment with the destroyer HMAS Warramunga when the crew conducted an emergency landing in the water.

The chopper crew was rescued by sailors from the HMAS Brisbane approximately 20 minutes later.

The crew received first aid for minor injuries.

“It got into difficulties; they’re not sure yet what went wrong but the most important thing is that the crew members were rescued.

“They were brought back onto the vessel about 20 minutes later.

“It just underscores the difficult work and the dangerous work that the men and women of our Australian Defence Force undertake,’’ Defence Minister, Peter Dutton, told 2GB radio on Thursday.

The Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, commended the crews of both ships involved for their quick response to the emergency.

“The successful rescue is credit to the devotion to duty and skill of the officers and sailors of HMAS Brisbane,’’ Hammond said.

“Their immediate actions ensured the survival of the aircrew, validating the significant training undertaken in the event an emergency of this nature occurs.’’

Flying operations of the MH-60R Seahawk fleet have been temporarily paused.

Dutton and the Defence Department said the incident was being investigated.

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