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    Royal New Zealand Air Force Meets With Plane Crash Survivors They Helped Rescue During RIMPAC 2016

    Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron Meets with Survivors of Small Plane Crash

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Jeffrey Troutman | 160720-N-ON468-137 MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (July 20, 2016) David McMahon and Sydnie...... read more read more

    Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron Meets With Survivors of Kona Plane Crash

    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (July 20, 2016) – Service members from the Royal New Zealand Air Force No. 5 Air Squadron met with survivors of a July 15 plane crash that occurred off the coast of Kona, Hawaii, on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, July 20.

    The squadron was one of several multinational forces involved in the rescue, which are in Hawaii participating in Rim of the Pacific 2016.

    USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), along with a Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Maritime Squadron (HSM) 37 and an MC-130J Commando II assigned to the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, assisted in the July 15 rescue after receiving a request from the Coast Guard’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu. Chung-Hoon and an RNZAF-5 Squadron P-3K2 Orion were in the area at the time training as part of RIMPAC.

    “I’m very proud of my crew’s effort during this search and rescue operation,” said Wing Commander Daniel Hunt of the RNZAF-5 Squadron. “To see the training and the sacrifice the squadron crew makes to keep themselves proficient pay off like this; it’s very rewarding. I knew once we got out there and got on with our job, the techniques and the procedures we use would be put into practice, and I’m happy that we were successful and able to help.”

    David McMahon and his friend Sydnie Uemoto were floating at sea for nearly 20 hours before being spotted, but McMahon said he never doubted that help was on the way.

    “We knew, with the RIMPAC exercise going on, that there were a lot of people available to help rescue us, and it gave us the courage to hang on until they found us,” McMahon said about the ordeal. “I can’t explain my immense gratitude, knowing how much effort went into this rescue operation, so that Sydnie and I could make it back safe.”

    McMahon also said he was considering enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard once he recovers, as a way to give back and help others might find themselves in his situation.

    Uemoto said when she heard there was an opportunity for them to fly to Marine Corps Base Hawaii to meet members of the RNZ rescue squadron, it required little thought.

    “It’s an absolute honor for us to come here and say thank you to those who helped rescue us,” said Uemoto. “I can’t put into words what it means to me, to know these [people] put so much effort into rescuing me and David from a bad situation like that.”

    Rick McMahon, David’s father, accompanied the survivors to the base and expressed his gratitude to the service members present.

    “Each and every one of you here today are heroes for what you did,” said McMahon. “Your unwavering dedication to duty and your efforts in finding and rescuing David and Sydnie from harm’s way is something neither myself nor my family will ever, ever forget. We are so incredibly grateful for everything you men and women do every day.”

    Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

    For more information about RIMPAC 2016, visit:



    Date Taken: 07.20.2016
    Date Posted: 07.21.2016 14:48
    Story ID: 204632
    Location: US

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