Gosnells resident and Army Reserve Captain Pierre Yang has been putting his language skills to use in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
The aircraft, which inexplicably vanished from Malaysia en route to China in March 2014 while carrying 239 people, is the subject of an ongoing international search.
Cpt Yang was recently deployed as a liaison officer and linguist on board the Chinese salvage/rescue vessel Dong Hai Jiu 101 to bridge the language gap between Chinese personnel and their Australian and American counterparts.
“The level of teamwork between all of us on the ship from different nations demonstrated the depth of international co-operation involved in the operation,” he said.
Cpt Yang, a fluent Mandarin speaker, was humbled to be chosen to participate in the operation.
“I appreciated the opportunity to make a contribution to the army, to represent my country and, through the effort of searching for Flight MH370, trying to bring closure to the families of the passengers on board,” he said.
The southern Indian Ocean is known for its unforgiving sea and wind conditions such as the Roaring Forties.
Cpt Yang said this year’s weather was particularly rough compared to past years with the swell height routinely reaching eight metres and wind speed reaching 55 knots.
Cpt Yang was born in China and has lived in Australia since 1998.
He joined the Australian Army Reserves in 2006 and is a logistic officer in 13th Combat Service Support Battalion at Irwin Barracks, Karrakatta.
“I am proud that in my army service I have been able to contribute to operational tasks such as this,” he said.
“I feel my army training has enabled me to become more versatile and adaptable to operate in both military operations and humanitarian assistance roles.”
Operating under a three-nation agreement between Australia, Malaysia and China, the search team, led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, has searched more than 90,000 square kilometres of sea floor.