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Global Operations

Op PACIFIC ASSIST 2015

Unforgettable flight

19 March 2015

Australian nationals board a Royal Australian Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft to return to Australia following Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.

Australian citizens and foreign nationals are grateful for the support provided by the Australian Defence Force following the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam (TC Pam).

Australian national, Mrs Liliui Okalani Botleng and her family visited Vanuatu over two weeks ago and have been stuck since Tropical Cyclone Pam hit on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March, 2015.

"Everything was ruined following the cyclone," Mrs Liliui Okalani Botleng said.

"Not being able to control how we would get back home has been on my mind for the las couple of days."

Two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C17-A Globemaster III aircraft and a C130-J Hercules have transported emergency relief stores into Vanuatu and assisted in the evacuation of civilians from Vanuatu.

"I am very glad I am an Australian citizen and can go home today," Mrs Liliui Okalani Botleng said.

"The Australian Air Force is doing a very good job and are very helpful. I am able to go home because of them.

"This is my first time on a military aircraft and one my family and I will not forget it."

Royal Australian Air Force pilot, Flight Lieutenant Ashley Kissock has a heavy weight on his shoulders, relied upon to fly evacuees from Vanuatu as part of Operation Pacific Assist 2015.

"We are assisting Australian nationals and foreign nationals in evacuating them out of Vanuatu," Flight Lieutenant Kissock said.

"It feels good to be able to assist anyone in need and those that have been effected by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

"As we flew over Vanuatu on approach today, we saw a lot of devastation on the ground."

"It's just good to be able to help out and assist those in need."