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Monday, 18 July 2016, 17:20 HKT/SGT

Source: National Agency of Search and Rescue
BASARNAS Special Group, Coping with the Most Devastating Disasters

JAKARTA, July 18, 2016 - (ACN Newswire) - AirAsia Flight QZ8501 disappeared on 28 December 2014 with 155 passengers and 7 crew aboard, one of the worst air disasters to ever occur in Indonesian airspace. Dreams of spending new year's eve in Singapore turned to tragedy following a fateful sequence of events. As the aircraft, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia to Singapore, was declared missing on the very first day, Sunday 28 December, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency BASARNAS had already dispatched five SAR ships to the probable crash zone of Flight QZ8501 in the Java Sea.

Given the trecherous waters of the Karimata Strait, BASARNAS knew to deploy the elite BASARNAS Special Group (BSG), which departed aboard State Ship KN SAR 224 from Port Kalijabat, Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta. The BSG would play a vital role in recovering the plane wreckage and evacuating the victims bodies in a relatively short time.

Search and recovery efforts were directed at sweeping the Karimata Strait from Belitung Island to the waters off West Kalimantan, a area with a 270-nautical-mile (500 km) radius. The BASNARAS Special Group discovered more than half of the victims and countless pieces of the plane wreckage in the days that followed. The operation would run for more than 80 days, with ships and aircraft from several nations searching for wreckage, and dozens of trained divers and many hundreds of volunteers searching with the world watching.

BASARNAS Chief, Air Chief Marshal FH Bambang Soelistyo, S.Sos, MAP, said, "BSG is a highly elite team, with greater capability than ordinary SAR (search and rescue) personnel. They are each equipped with three-tiered technical skills covering water rescue, jungle rescue, and paramotor rescue.

"In addition, BSG members possesses basic military special force skills such as first aid, parachuting, and helicopter, jungle, water and height rescue procedure and rescue procedure in collapsed buildings. BSG is deployed to accelerate the accomplishment of SAR operations both in the national- or international-scale disasters."

Founded right after the Sukhoi crash tragedy in Salak Mountain, Bogor, Indonesia in 2012, BSG are thoroughly trained to ensure successful and cost-efficient SAR operations. Besides relying on individual technical skills, BSG are also equipped with a wide ranging SAR-related high-tech arsenal including remotely operated vehicles and sonar-based underwater communications systems. Additionally, BSG personnel are required to operate various types of rescue-related tactical equipment.

Given the level of commitment and strength of character required of the BSG corps, it is not surprising that BASARNAS personnel must undergo a rigorous and specialized selection process, as well as maintain a perfect medical record.

BASARNAS Chief Bambang points out that the success of any search and rescue operation owes not only to BASARNAS, but to the support of each element in the operation, including military, the police, the National Agency for Disaster Management, and other groups. Bambang lends special emphasis to the solidarity and team work incumbent in any rescue operation, where success depends so heavily on cooperation and cross-sectoral coordination.

With the ultimate responsibility for the safety of its citizens during times of natural disaster, the Government of Indonesia deploys and relies on the National Search and Rescue Agency. BASARNAS plays a critical role during all periods of disaster, conducting effective SAR operations efficiently, safely and securely, anytime and anywhere. BASARNAS will be at the forefront of any ongoing natural disaster, saving lives and preventing more loss.

Established in each of the 33 provinces across Indonesia, BASARNAS is composed of highly trained, elite SAR personnel, and equipped with state-of-the-art life-safety support equipment. No matter how long, how far, and how hard the disaster strikes, the BASARNAS team will be there to evacuate victims, minimizing more loss. To learn more about BASARNAS, Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, please visit http://www.basarnas.go.id.

Topic: Press release summary
Source: National Agency of Search and Rescue

Sectors: CyberSecurity, Science & Research, Environment, Aerospace & Defence
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