SSAREX, or Search and Rescue Exercise, is an annual exercise organized by Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Ministry of Transport. The exercise focus on rescuing the aircraft and ship that faced accident. Participant consists of armed force, police, armature radio network, private rescue foundation, hospital, etc. Each year DCA will assigned one government organization as a main host and this year Royal Thai Navy take this role.
The exercise was held on 18 – 19 July 2009 in Royal Thai Navy (RTN) area in Songkhla, Southern Thailand. 18 July is the actual day and 19 is a public day where the participant demonstrated the rescue mission to public.
On 18 July, the exercise was held in training area in the gulf of Thailand 50 nautical miles off the coast. The participants ship & aircraft is
– HTMS Klong-Yai. The RTN’s 300 tons patrol gun boat as a main rescue ship.
– HTMS Sriracha. The RTN’s 624 tons patrol gun boat as a command & control ship.
– T.99. The RTN’s 130 tons near-shore patrol boat use to look after the training area and prevent the civilian ship that might accidentally enter the training area.
– Do-228 from RTN Flying Unit as a sea search aircraft.
– S-70B Sea Hawk from HTMS Chakri Naruebeth Flying Unit as a rescue helicopter.
– Bell 212 from RTN Flying Unit as a chasing aircraft.
– SEALs team from RTN Naval Special Warfare Command.
– Private rescue foundation and government hospital in Songkhla.
All ship sailed of the Songkhla Naval Base in mid day and headed for the training area where initial information said that one fishing ship was set on fire and about to sink. Do-228 did the search and later found 18 survivals in the sea. On 2 P.M. After received a confirmed position and situation from Do-228 as well as call S-70B to pick up a severe-injured survival. All ships headed to that position and start rescue operation by sending SEALs team from HTMS Klong-Yai and HTMS Sriracha to pick up survivals by using inflatable boat. On the same time, S-70B flew in and dropped a smoke to designate that this is a disaster area. S-70B hoped over the sea and dropped a SEALs as a lifesaving person to prepare the severe-injured survival for boarding the helicopter back. S-70B in five minutes later picked up both of them by using a rescue hoist.
When SEALs team on inflatable boat collected all survival and sailed back to HTMS Klong-Yai and HTMS Sriracha. Medical staffs from both Private rescue foundation and government hospital start to provide a medical care by categorized the victim in to minor injury, major injury, and severe injury and use a lifesaving equipment. The training ended on 3 P.M. and a half and all units sailed back to base.
On the public day, 19 July 2009. The event was held on Chalatuch beach in front of the 2nd Navy Headquarter. There a small exhibition by participating organization, local sailing and driving club. The show began on 10 A.M. near the beach. It was start by a low level fly pass and some aerial display of Do-228, Bell 212, S-70B, O-2 from Royal Thai Navy, AU-23A Peacemaker from Royal Thai Air Force, Bell 212 from Royal Thai Army. After the display, it was follow by a rescue demonstration that repeated what they do on 18 July near the beach.
There was no static display for this year since the event was held on the beach and around 5,000 people watching the show.