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Navy Localises Lost Black Hawk’s Beacon

Department of Defence Media Mail List
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CPA 374/06 Sunday, 17 December 2006

Navy Localises Lost Black Hawk’s Beacon

The Royal Australian Navy survey ship, HMAS Melville, has successfully localised the position of the Flight Data Recorder beacon from the Army Black Hawk that was lost while operating from HMAS Kanimbla on operations to the south of Fiji on 29 November 2006.

Equipped with a Towed Pinger Locating Drone supplied from the United States Navy (USN), and operated by US civilian contractors, Melville detected the beacon during its first pass over the crash site on Friday. The task of localising the aircraft’s beacon has now been completed after the ship conducted a number of survey runs to pinpoint the beacon's position.

The beacon’s position has been established and it is confirmed that it lies in approximately 2900 metres of water. While there is no reason to suspect that the beacon does not remain with the aircraft; this can not be confirmed.

Melville used her own fitted equipment to conduct a survey of the area around the beacon’s position to build a better picture of the terrain of the sea floor. This data will assist in establishing the feasibility of any further operations to assess the condition of the aircraft.

“I have been very impressed with the professional way in which the localisation task was conducted by the ship’s company of Melville and the embarked contractors,” said the Navy’s Maritime Commander, Rear Admiral Davyd Thomas.

“I want to pay particular thanks to the US Navy and their contractor Phoenix International for their very prompt provision of this specialised equipment.”

Melville has commenced her return passage to her home port of Cairns and is expected to arrive back before Christmas.

Ends

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