Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Search for Missing Boat Crewman Brings AMSA Challenger 604 Bizjet VH-XNF "Rescue 550" to Rockhampton Airport from Essendon

Early on Sunday 6 May, a crew member was reported missing from a charter fishing boat in waters off the Capricorn Coast.  The crewman was from the Gladstone-based 23-metre 'MV Night Crossing'.  The ensuing search on Sunday covered a massive area around Swain Reefs, about 200 kilometres north-east of Yeppoon.

Four fixed-wing aircraft were reported to be involved in the search including Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) (Cobham SAR Services Pty Ltd) Bombardier CL-600-2B16 Challenger 604 bizjet VH-XNF "Rescue 550" which flew all the way up from its Melbourne (Essendon) base.

VH-XNF was photographed by local plane spotter 'IAD' as it called into Rockhampton Airport to take on fuel before it later re-joined the search.

VH-XNF landed again at Rockhampton Airport in the late afternoon before it was later noted returning to Essendon.

UPDATE!  We've also been advised that SG Aviation (of Victoria) Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Global Express XRS bizjet VH-SGA, which as reported above, also visited Rockhampton Airport on Sunday 5 May, flew a replacement crew into Rocky for VH-XNF from Melbourne (Tullamarine).  It later returned South and was noted heading towards Melbourne (Essendon).

Another aircraft reported to be involved with the search was Surveillance Australia / Australian Border Force (ABF) Cobham Aviation-operated Dash-8-315Q MPA VH-ZZG "Borderforce 66".  It was heard to later depart the search area and land at Mackay Airport.

Finally, a pair of Beech King Air aircraft were also involved with the search.  McDermott Aviation Group / Machjet International Raytheon B200 King Air VH-NSN initially arrived into Rockhampton Airport from Cairns before departing to the search area.  It later returned to Cairns.  While Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Hawker Beechcraft B200 VH-FDM "FlyDoc 478" was also heard departing Rockhampton Airport for the search area.

Sincere thanks to local plane spotter 'IAD' for taking the time to capture and send through these great photos!

All photos taken by 'IAD'  ©

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