The three flight crews and maintainers from HMAS Albatross have arrived in cyclone ravaged Fiji.
Two MRH-90 helicopters from 808 Squadron left Nowra more than a week ago joining up with another aircraft from the squadron in Brisbane aboard navy’s new Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) ship, HMAS Canberra.
Twenty-two Albatross personnel joined the 18 already embarked on the flight on HMAS Canberra with 808 Squadron commanding officer, Commander Mike Waddell saying the local crews would take part in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“The crews could be doing anything from carrying people around, medevacing people who may be injured and need to be taken to hospital, carrying stores, food and things like that. We will no doubt be helping take ashore all the engineering gear that will be taken over to help rebuild,” he said.
Australia’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission gathered significant momentum, with Canberra arriving in Fiji, off Koro Island.
Soldiers from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the Australian Army landed together on the southern point of Koro Island to start their relief efforts as part of Operation Fiji Assist.
The flight crews, along with Army MRH-90 helicopters, have started airlifting personnel, plant equipment, tools, heavy vehicles and aid to the stricken islands.
Amphibious operations began on March 2 with a major muscle move of material and personnel to help those affected by tropical Cyclone Winston which struck on February 20.
As well as being flown in, equipment and personnel has also been landed from sea by light landing craft.
Beach clearance was conducted prior to landing by soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment ensuring the chosen landing sites were clear for craft.
The landing points became hives of activity as all manner of breathing and mechanised capabilities came ashore.
Soldiers wasted no time in making their way up and across the island to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.