Fisherman says best day of his life when rescue missing pilot

Update: June, 21/2016 - 01:00
Safe and sound: Major Nguyễn Hữu Cường (centre), one of two pilots on board the missing fighter jet Su-30MK2, returned home safely after being rescued by seven fishermen in Thạch Bằng Commune in the central province of Nghệ An. Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ TĨNH — Seven fishermen from the central province of Hà Tĩnh’s Thạch Bằng Commune have rescued Major Nguyễn Hữu Cường, one of two pilots on board the missing fighter jet Su-30MK2.

In an interview with Thanh Niên (Youth) Newspaper, Captain Phạm Xuân Lệ, one of the rescuers, said that the moment he and others brought pilot Cường on board their boat was one of the happiest of his life.

According to Lệ, he discovered Cường afloat on the sea at 4am on the morning of June 15, when his crew were about to cast a fishing net in the area, about 56 nautical miles from Cửa Sót Harbour.

“Other fishermen and I were sleeping when I heard the voice calling the boat. Due to the strong wind and the northern accent of the caller, I thought some fishing boat nearby was calling. After clearly hearing he was calling for help again, I instantly thought about the missing pilot on the plane that I heard on the radio”, he said.

Lệ immediately woke the others up to change course towards the sound and search for the downed pilot. On discovery of Cường, they immediately contacted local authorities ashore for assistance.

The other rescuers involved were Nguyễn Ngọc Dậu, Trần Anh Long, Võ Ngọc Lâm, Nguyễn Văn Xuân, Lê Hồng Thái and Nguyễn Văn Hoạt.

Lệ added that Cường was in a stable condition when he was brought on board. He still had some food and water with him so he  managed to survive until he was rescued.

The fighter jet Su-30MK2, with two pilots on board, went missing on June 14 during a training session off the coast of Nghệ An. Senior Lieutenant Colonel Trần Quang Khải was deputy head and chief of staff of Regiment 923.

The body of Khải was found on June 17 in the area of Hòn Mắt, an islet 40 nautical miles off the coast of the central province of Nghệ An. — VNS