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12 August 2009
Operation Kokoda Assist

The Australian Defence Force is providing support to the search and rescue for the Airlines PNG aircraft that went missing yesterday enroute to Kokoda. Following a request from the Government of Papua New Guinea, Australia has begun deploying ADF assets to assist in the search for the Airlines PNG aircraft that went missing enroute to Kokoda yesterday.

Papuan authorities have advised their intentions to re-commence search operations, weather dependent, first light this morning.

The search operation is being managed through the PNG Rescue Coordination Centre with a number of Australian agencies providing support to the task.

Two Australian Army Blackhawk helicopters were prepared for strategic airlift early this morning using a C-17 Globemaster. The aircraft were assembled at RAAF Base Richmond this morning. HMAS Success, with an embarked Sea King Helicopter has been diverted from its current location near the Torres Strait.

The Sea King helicopter is due to arrive at Port Moresby this morning while Success will arrive this afternoon. A Caribou aircraft is currently in Port Moresby for a separate activity and is available for tasking from 7am.

A C-130 Hercules is expected to depart RAAF Base Richmond early this morning with the following capabilities: an aeromedical evacuation (AME) team capable of handling one high dependency patient and a number of other lower dependency patients; a six person Mobile Air Load Team, who will be utilised as an incident-site support party to assist with search and recovery efforts if required; three members of an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team.

Also on this flight will be the remaining ten members of the AFP DVI team and four members of the Australian Transport Safety Board. An Australian Maritime Search and Rescue Dornier-328 aircraft departed yesterday afternoon to assist with search and rescue efforts.