Intense search worth the effort

Volunteers May Bowser and Paul Neville have contributed more than 72 hours, often in 12-hour shifts, since the Australian Government-led search began.

The pair were called on to help search the Indian Ocean for the plane because they were qualified air observers. A spokesman for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the techniques used by air observers differed to those used for land observation due to the focus required, the swell of the ocean and the changing weather conditions.

Their shifts include the flight to reach the search area, an intense period of searching from the plane and then the flight home.

Despite the lack of results for the considerable effort put in, Ms Bowser said she was glad to help.

‘While the search techniques can be quite demanding, it is rewarding to be able to help and really make a contribution,’ she said.

Mr Neville said: ‘It is great to be able to assist the community and also the opportunity to put all the training in to practice.’ In total, more than 75 SES volunteers have completed close to 1700 hours in the air searching for the missing plane.

DFES operations command deputy commissioner Lloyd Bailey commended those contributing to the search.

‘The SES commitment to the search operation has been outstanding, with volunteers from across the service putting up their hand to perform shifts,’ he said.