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Medical emergency forces Australian submarine to surface near Samar

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - An Australian submarine was forced to surface in waters off Samar last Sunday after one of its sailors suffered from appendicitis.

Armed Forces Central Command spokesman Lt. Cdr. Jim Alagao said the submarine had surfaced about three nautical miles off Marabut, Samar.

He said the vessel had unloaded a patient, whose name was not identified. Information about the submarine’s origin was not immediately available.   

Navy public affairs chief Cdr. Gregory Fabic said the Australian defense armed forces attaché called them Sunday morning to request for a medical evacuation.

“Basically, it was in transit when they requested the medical evacuation. They were in international waters,” Fabic said.

A Philippine Navy ship met with the Australian submarine at around 5 p.m. to facilitate the evacuation of the ailing sailor.

The patient was sent to the Tacloban Doctors Hospital and later on to Manila for further treatment.

“He (Australian sailor) is now in stable condition,” Fabic said.

“We provided medical evacuation since it was humanitarian, emergency in nature."

Defense department spokesman Peter Galvez said the submarine did not commit a territorial incursion because it was sailing on international waters before it sought the Philippines’s help.

He said the incident highlights the need to improve the interoperability among the navies in the region.

“We saw the importance of our relationship with our allies. It is really important to strengthen our interoperability,” the defense official said.

The Philippines, Galvez said, is ready to extend similar assistance to its allies when necessary. (with reports from Venice Amoroso and Anna Bajo)

 

A PHILIPPINE NAVY

AN AUSTRALIAN

ARMED FORCES CENTRAL COMMAND

FABIC

GREGORY FABIC

JIM ALAGAO

PETER GALVEZ

SAMAR

TACLOBAN DOCTORS HOSPITAL

VENICE AMOROSO AND ANNA BAJO

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