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Media Release

SES volunteers assist in search operation for MH370
Friday 11 April 2014 – 9:30 AM

More than 75 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers have completed close to 1,700 hours in the air searching for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

The volunteers have completed 176 shifts over two weeks, scouring the waters of the Indian Ocean from civil aircraft for any signs of debris.

Fourteen Western Australian SES volunteer air observers are assisting with the search today.

SES volunteer Lyn Bryant said the SES were well versed in searching for missing persons, but this operation was beyond the norm in scale and difficulty.

"The search area is vast, weather conditions are at times difficult and spotting items in the swell can be extremely challenging," she said.

"The focus required to search the seas for hours on end can be draining, but we are willing and able to contribute to the international response to this tragedy.

"All the volunteers have searched with all their focus on finding any piece of the puzzle that might assist. We have families too and feel for those that had loved ones on the missing flight."

The volunteers have been providing specialist expertise as air observers since Saturday 22 March 2014, assisting the Australian Government led operation in the southern Indian Ocean.

The SES volunteers assisting with the operation have come from units across the Perth metropolitan area, as well as the Goldfields/Midlands region and the Pilbara region, with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) coordinating the SES involvement.

DFES Operations Command Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey congratulated those involved for their efforts.

"The SES commitment to the search operation has been outstanding, with volunteers from across the service putting up their hand to perform shifts,” Deputy Commissioner Bailey said.

"They have spent time away from family, friends and their workplace to put in hours searching as part of this international effort.

"On behalf of the WA community, we are proud to have such committed emergency services volunteers serving our State."

SES air search observers regularly assist AMSA and WA Police in searches for missing aircraft, vessels or people on land or at sea.
Training for SES air observers is undertaken by AMSA across the country.

Currently, more than 480 SES volunteers across 22 locations throughout Australia are trained as air search observers.

For more information about the Australian Government led operation in the Indian Ocean visit www.jacc.gov.au.

Media Contact: DFES Media and Public Affairs on 9225 5955 


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