Flight MH370: Radlett sailor searching Southern Indian Ocean for missing aeroplane

Flight MH370: Radlett sailor searching Southern Indian Ocean for missing aeroplane

Flight MH370: Radlett sailor searching Southern Indian Ocean for missing aeroplane

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A sailor from Radlett is currently involved in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane that disappeared on March 8.

Surgeon Lieutenant Lizzi Ashley is on Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo, which was redeployed to assist in the search for the missing airliner.

The Plymouth based vessel had been carrying out survey work in the Middle East before receiving instructions to join the international search effort in the Southern Indian Ocean.

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Surgeon Lieutenant Ashley said she felt "privileged" to be part of the search effort, despite the "sombe nature" of the task.

She said: "This is a very large scale operation to be involved with and I hope we are able to give the relatives of all those on flight MH370 some answers at this difficult time.

"This is my first deployment with the Royal Navy, and it is exciting to be involved in such a large, multinational operation - I have been liaising with medical officers from other nations, such as Australia, as our ships are working towards the same mission.

"The atmosphere onboard is one of anticipation - if we are able to find the black box, or contribute any information that will provide an explanation to the families of MH370, it will be a really good day. Ultimately, we all want to bring peace to the families at this time of uncertainty."

The Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing last month. An international search team has spent weeks combing the Indian Ocean for signs of the missing Boeing 777 that was carrying 239 passengers and crew on board.

Surgeon Lieutenant Ashley, who grew up in Radlett, joined the Royal Navy in 2008 while studying medicine at St George’s medical school, part of the University of London.

Now a medical officer onboard HMS Echo, the 27 year old added: "I joined the Royal Navy to practise medicine away from the standard hospital environment. Medical officers are deployed all across the globe; keeping the crew fit and healthy in order to maintain the task focus of the ship is a unique job that is exciting to undertake. I am interested in pre-hospital medicine and critical care, two specialties that lend themselves to military service. The ability to be able to practice medicine in remote areas, yet with telephone support available from the UK, is a privilege."

HMS Echo carries 81 people, split into three watches, two of which will be on board at any time.  This unique shift system allows the vessel to remain on operational tasking 330 days a year.

After 60 consecutive days at sea, HMS Echo is likely to call into an Australian port to replenish supplies before resuming search and recovery patrols in the Indian Ocean.

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