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NZ Defence Seasprite Helicopter Damaged

Seasprite Helicopter Damaged

On 22 May the Seasprite helicopter onboard the frigate HMNZS Te Mana suffered damage during a routine engine run. Damage to the structure of the Seasprite occurred following the development of significant ground resonance vibration during this engine run. There were no injuries to personnel.

The Seasprite is not able to fly and the full extent of the damage is undetermined at this time. An investigating team left for the Gulf from New Zealand on 24 May and is expected to return to New Zealand early June.

An inquiry has been initiated to review this incident and determine causal factors. While the full extent of the damage has yet to be determined, early indications are that the airframe will be repaired in New Zealand.

Meanwhile, options for maintaining the rotary wing capability on HMNZS Te Mana are being assessed and it is likely that Te Mana's Seasprite be replaced from NZ.

HMNZS TE MANA, with 174 Officers and Ratings onboard, is deployed to the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the multinational campaign against trans-national terrorism.

The ship arrived in the area in April this year and is scheduled to return to New Zealand in September 2004. HMNZS Te Mana's operations involve preventing the movement by sea of Al Qa'eda and Taliban elements between Afghanistan/Pakistan, the Middle East and other areas.

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