A Navy Seahawk overcame severe weather conditions to rescue three generations of a family stranded on their flood-affected property in Kangaroo Valley on the night of July 4. 

The Seahawk’s four-man crew, from Nowra-based No. 816 Squadron, had received word to check on an elderly resident cut off by flood water and who hadn't been contactable for days.

Civilian aircraft had been unable to perform the evacuation due to severe weather.

Chief aircrewman Chief Petty Officer Liam Carruthers was winched down after the pilot performed a hover landing on the landslide-affected property. 

He soon discovered the elderly resident was running low on heart medication and needed evacuation along with her daughter and grandchild. 

“They were deeply worried at first because they thought they couldn’t get out [of the property],” Chief Petty Officer Carruthers said. 

Chief Petty Officer Carruthers said the pilots and crew worked hard to maintain a hover, landing on a steep gradient as the family entered the helicopter.

“Because of the hill and slope and the condition of the elderly lady, I had to physically carry her to get her into the aircraft,” he said. 

He said the mood soon changed from fear to elation once the crew touched down at HMAS Albatross.

“I guess the level of stress and panic reduced and they just kept giving us big hugs and smiles. They were pretty teary,” he said.

The rescue was a career highlight for pilot Lieutenant Commander Benjamin Martin. 

“When we got back to the squadron and they were jumping out [of the helicopter], I turned around to see if they were alright,” Lieutenant Commander Martin said.  

“One of the family members shook my hand and I could see her mouthing the words ‘thank you’.”