Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 14 seconds.
Australia has grounded its fleet of MH-60R Seahawks after one of the helicopters was ditched in the Philippine Sea on Oct. 13.
All three crew onboard the aircraft suffered only minor injuries and are safe aboard an Australian naval vessel after the emergency at-sea touchdown during what the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) says was a routine flight.
The aircraft was operating from the air warfare destroyer HMAS Brisbane as part of a regional presence deployment with the frigate HMAS Warramunga, when the crew conducted an emergency landing in the water.
Rescue boats launched from Brisbane rescued the crew about 20 minutes later, according to a statement from the Australian DoD. The crew received first aid for minor injuries upon their return to the Brisbane.
Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Adm. 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 in a statement. “Their immediate actions ensured the survival of the aircrew, validating the significant training undertaken in the event an emergency of this nature occurs. With the aircrew safe, investigating the circumstances that led to the helicopter ditching is the priority at the moment. As a precaution, we have temporarily paused flying operations of the MH-60R Seahawk fleet.”