Rallying to the rescue of fishermen

Updated: 2013-10-11 07:41

By Peng Yining in Hainan and He Na, Jiang Xueqing and Wu Wencong in Beijing (China Daily)

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Disappointed, but proud

When Peace Ark was called upon to join the rescue mission, the hospital ship was on its way back to Zhejiang province after a four-month cruise around South Asia.

"Everybody was packing and getting ready to go home," said Wu Haibo, the head nurse. "My husband and daughter had flown to the port to welcome me."

However, once deployed, the ship immediately headed south and Wu's family had to fly back to their home in Beijing without seeing her.

"Of course we were a little disappointed. I haven't seen my little girl for four months. But I am proud that we participated in the rescue mission. We have trained for years to help people, and this was the moment they needed us," she said.

As China's largest hospital ship, Peace Ark has many advantages when engaged in search and rescue missions. The helicopter it carries is equipped with medical supplies and equipment, and the ship's complement of more than 100 medical professionals, many of whom have participated in disaster relief before, have experience of rescue operations and dealing with bodies.

During the mission in the South China Sea, Peace Ark, which provided free medical services in eight countries during its 118-day cruise, became the operational hub, receiving bodies recovered by other search vessels and transferring them to Sanya city in Hainan province for cremation.

-Peng Yining

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