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Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016 Jun;31(3):294-9. doi: 10.1017/S1049023X16000194. Epub 2016 Mar 28.

Medical Support for Aircraft Disaster Search and Recovery Operations at Sea: the RSN Experience.

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1Navy Medical Service,Republic of Singapore Navy,Singapore.
2Headquarters Medical Corps,Singapore Armed Forces,Singapore.


The maritime environment presents a unique set of challenges to search and recovery (SAR) operations. There is a paucity of information available to guide provision of medical support for SAR operations for aircraft disasters at sea. The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) took part in two such SAR operations in 2014 which showcased the value of a military organization in these operations. Key considerations in medical support for similar operations include the resultant casualty profile and challenges specific to the maritime environment, such as large distances of area of operations from land, variable sea states, and space limitations. Medical support planning can be approached using well-established disaster management life cycle phases of preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery, which all are described in detail. This includes key areas of dedicated training and exercises, force protection, availability of air assets and chamber support, psychological care, and the forensic handling of human remains. Relevant lessons learned by RSN from the Air Asia QZ8501 search operation are also included in the description of these key areas. Teo KAC , Chong TFG , Liow MHL , Tang KC . Medical support for aircraft disaster search and recovery operations at sea: the RSN experience. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2016; 31(3):294-299.


AO area of operations; ATLS Advanced Trauma Life Support; DMORT Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team; DVI Disaster Victim Identification; HADR humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus; LST Landing Ship Tank; PSO peace support operations; RSN Republic of Singapore Navy; SAL search and locate; SAR search and recovery; WOG whole-of-government; aircraft disaster; maritime; medical support; search and rescue

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