By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, April 13: A special team from the Fire and Rescue Air Unit from Subang, Selangor, has flown across the South China Sea in a mission to assist the Sarawak government delivering food aid into the interior villages.
Many villagers located deep in the interiors faced difficulties to go out to get their necessities and daily food supplies amid the movement control order (MCO) since March 18.
Led by the agency’s instructor pilot Capt Badrul Hisham Bahar Shah, the crew’s journey on an Augusta AW189 helicopter began on April 11, where they flew from Subang Airport to Senai Airport in Johor for an overnight.
The crew, consisting Capt Wahyudi Mohd Sayuhti, co-pilot Che Muhammad Azlan Che Mohammad, air quartermaster Iskendar Zulkarnain Abd Razak and two Special Air Services officers Abdul Rais Md Piah and Mohd Shahrul Azwan Ali, departed Senai early morning on April 12.
They entered the Indonesian air space into Batam in just over an hour for a pit stop and refueling before continuing their journey to Sarawak.
“Immediately after the first refuelling, we flew for about 2.5 hours to Tanjung Pandan for another pit stop. It was during this sector that the weather condition was not very kind and it was a bumpy flight.
“Upon arriving Tanjung Pandan, we made another refuel. We were also instructed by the Indonesian government to disembark for immigration clearance and health declaration.
“Similar like the ones in Malaysia, we filled the health declaration form and had our temperatures checked,” Badrul related their journey to DayakDaily.
The crew then departed Tanjung Pandan and thereafter entered Malaysian air space before reaching Kuching International Airport (KIA) just after 5pm.
After an overnight stay in Kuching, the crew departed to Miri this afternoon.
“Our mission is to reach Sarawak as soon as possible so we can proceed with the food aid operations tomorrow (April 14). There are many people in the interiors waiting for the very much needed assistance.
“We will remain in Sarawak throughout the MCO and once the order is over, we will return to Subang,” Badrul said.
Meanwhile, the Augusta AW189 helicopter will remain at the Fire and Rescue air base in Miri until its two Mi-171 helicopters return to Sarawak.
The department has two units of Mi-171 helicopters to serve the whole of East Malaysia but they are currently in Subang for service and repair.
Sarawak Fire and Rescue director Khirudin Drahman and deputy director Zainal Madasin visited the crew at KIA this afternoon. — DayakDaily