The New Zealand Ministry of Defense closed its Wellington offices Monday and Tuesday, following Monday’s earthquake. BBC reported the country has been hit by hundreds of tremors after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rolled through, killing two people. The epicenter was near the town of Kaikoura, and residents of nearby Clarence River were urged to evacuate to higher ground. New Zealand military helicopters and a naval ship have been deployed to evacuate more than 1,000 people who remain stranded in Kaikoura by landslides and other earthquake-induced obstacles.
The Associated Press reported that the New Zealand military sent out four NHIndustries NH90s, each with the ability to carry 18 people at a time. Due to weather forecasts, the operation could take several days. Weather permitting, the Navy ship could transport hundreds of people. A Lockheed Martin C-130 is also available to drop supplies.
The NH90, which achieved 100,000 flight hours by worldwide operators in April, meets the most demanding NATO standards. It is a fly-by-wire rotorcraft with an integrated avionics suite and glass cockpit. NHIndustries is owned by Airbus Helicopters, the principal shareholder, along with Leonardo and Fokker Aerostructures.
Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force