Anzac’s helicopter airlifts rescued fisherman to Perth

An Indonesian fisherman rescued in the Indian Ocean is airlifted to Perth from HMAS Anzac in the ship's embarked MH-60R helicopter. Photo: Leading Seaman Thomas Sawtell

Anzac’s helicopter airlifts rescued fisherman to Perth

HMAS Anzac’s embarked MH-60R helicopter on May 15 transferred an injured Indonesian fisherman rescued in the Indian Ocean to a Perth hospital for urgent care.

The fisherman was one of 20 taken on board HMAS Anzac on Saturday afternoon following their rescue by the crew of Japanese fishing vessel Fukuseki Maru 15

The fishermen had been clinging to their half-submerged vessel, Bandar Nelayan, for more than a day in rough seas about 670 nautical miles west of Perth.

Anzac was just hours from returning home after a 10-week deployment when the call for help came, and changed course back to sea to aid the rescue effort.

Lieutenant Michael Dobson, one of two medical doctors in Anzac, said the fisherman who was airlifted to Perth had an infection that needed surgery.

“These infections can get nasty rather quickly and surgery is needed to treat the wound. Without that, the infection will remain or get worse,” Lieutenant Dobson said.

Anzac is returning the remaining 19 fishermen to their home port in Bali and is expected to arrive later this week.

Lieutenant Dobson and Able Seaman Medic Meagan Miller is providing healthcare to the rescued fishermen.

They all returned negative tests for COVID-19 but are being cared for in a separate area of the ship as a precaution. 

Lieutenant Dobson said they were in good health.

“There are minor scratches, but overall they are in good health and we have adequate medical equipment for taking observations as well as dressings and basic medicines,” he said.

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