On the morning of July 8, a 40-foot-long fishing vessel with six passengers went missing in the Indian ocean off the coastline of Sri Lanka. Two days later, a U.S. Navy P−8A Poseidon patrol aircraft discovered the missing boat after responding to requests from the Sri Lankan Navy for assistance in the rescue.
The P−8A and its crew that took part in the mission were part of the “Pelicans” of Patrol Squadron 45 assigned to U.S. 7th Fleet.
The missing fishing boat and its six-man crew were located as the P−8A flew over the Indian Ocean. The boat was off the southernmost coast of Sri Lanka near the former capitol of Sri Lanka, Dondra Head.
The P−8A communicated the location of the missing vessel to the Sri Lankan Navy, who sent a ship to assist the missing boat. A commercial vessel near the fishing boat also assisted in finding the boat.
The Boeing P−8A Poseidon is a patrol and reconnaissance aircraft that has been in use by the U.S. Navy since its introduction in November 2013. According to the Seventh Fleet website, the aircraft regularly operates throughout Seventh Fleet’s primary area of operation in the Indo-Pacific area, which encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population. The P−8A Poseidon is the world’s newest and most capable patrol aircraft.
Cmdr. Mark E. Zematis, the commander of Patrol Squadron 45, was proud of the assistance his squadron provided and the meaning of the gesture. “The positive relationship between Sri Lanka and the United States is what allowed our aircrew and maintenance team to effectively launch and assist with the recovery of their countrymen," Zematis said.