Twelve Indians were rescued from a sinking vessel in the Persian Gulf by a French Navy ship on Tuesday, November 20. The aircraft unit of the frigate, a Panther helicopter, performed rescue hoist maneuvers and rescued the seafarers from the capsized vessel.
The French Navy Cassard-class anti-aircraft frigate was on a patrolling mission and she was preparing for a refueling at sea when she received a distress call from a nearby commercial vessel, the “Durban Queen”.
The ship of the Saint Kitts and Nevis flag was quickly spotted, seven nautical miles, or about 13 km away.
Under the operational control of the French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN), the Cassard-class frigate dispatched its aircraft unit, a Panther helicopter, which had just landed on the helipad after finishing a maritime surveillance sortie.
When the helicopter arrived at the spot of the ship the vessel had capsized minutes ago, forcing its Indian crew to cling to the overturned hull. Moments later, she began sinking.
The Panther, with two pilots on board, a diver and a helihoisting operator, started hoisting maneuvers. After the first run was performed, the choper transported 4 of the crew to the nearest vessel, a merchant ship. After the second and third run, the remaining 8 seafarers were transported aboard the Cassard. Some of them were injured and the medical team of the frigate ensured their care.
Eight of the crew members, assisted by the Cassard, were sent to the Sea Princess, a cruise ship.
This is the Cassard's second rescue mission in less than seven days in the Indian Ocean maritime zone, according to the statement of the French Navy.