St Helens sailor on Royal Navy vessel searching for missing Malaysian aircraft

St Helens Star: Able Seaman Matthew Cairns Able Seaman Matthew Cairns

ST HELENS sailor Matthew Cairns is part of the search force scouring the Southern Indian Ocean following the mystery disappearance of a Malaysian passenger plane.

Able Seaman Cairns, aged 26, is on the Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo which was called in to assist in the air and sea search for MH370, a Boeing 777 that went missing after leaving Kuala Lumpur on March 7 on a scheduled six hour flight to Beijing.

Military and civil aircraft plus 14 ships are continuing the hunt for MH370 , searching an area of more than 41,000 square km about 23,000km northwest of Perth, Western Australia.

Plymouth based HMS Echo had been carrying out survey work in the Middle East before receiving instructions to join the international search.

AB Cairns attended St Augustine of Canterbury School, Blackbrook and joined the Royal Navy in 2007. Now part of the Warfare team on board HMS Echo, he said: “Due to changes in the ship’s programme, I have left my fiancee Chelsea and son Oliver at short notice to be part of this operation. However, now that we are in the search area it is exciting to be part of such a high profile task. I hope we are successful in our mission for answers for the relatives of MH370.”

HMS Echo was mid way through an 18-month deployment and had visited Bahrain, Dubai, Oman, the Seychelles and the Maldives.

After 60 consecutive days at sea HMS Echo will replenish supplies at an Australian port before resuming the search.

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