HMAS Albatross craft joins MH370 search

A Seahawk helicopter from HMAS Albatross near Nowra has joined the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the Indian Ocean.

The S-70B2 Seahawk was transported to Perth aboard an RAAF C-17A Globemaster on Friday night.

The aircraft arrived at Fleet Base West near Perth on Saturday and deployed on the Anzac frigate HMAS Toowoomba on Sunday.

The frigate was diverted from other operational tasks to join the search, with the helicopter set to play a role once the ship reaches the search zone.

The flight has a standard complement of 16 people plus an additional pilot to allow more flexibility and more hours in the air.

Fleet Air Arm commander Commodore Vince Di Pietro, based at HMAS Albatross, said the Seahawk helicopter would help Toowoomba maximise its reach.

‘‘Toowoomba already had a helicopter onboard, which was fine for the task it was undertaking, but when this emergency arose we shipped a fresher plane to WA to give the crew the best possible chance of doing what they need to do,’’ Commodore Di Pietro said.

‘‘The aircraft is an extension of the ship’s own sensors and of course this is what the helicopter does best in its normal day-to-day role.’’

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