HMAS SWAN sailed in response to an urgent request for medical assistance from SS Austral Moon. Two crew members had suffered serious injuries when the 30,000 tonne American freighter encountered heavy weather some 650nm due east of Sydney. Swan rendezvoused with Austral Moon that afternoon. The inclement weather precluded the use of Swan’s boats so a line was passed to the freighter and connected to an inflatable naval life raft. Surgeon Lieutenant Brian Misso and Leading Seaman Phillip Littlewood were lowered into the raft to be pulled across to Austral Moon while Swan afforded a lee as best she could in the conditions. There were tense moments as the line parted during the crossing but Lieutenant Misso and Leading Seaman Littlewood were able to secure the raft and board the freighter. They remained on board Austral Moon until she arrived in Sydney the following morning and the two injured sailors were transferred to a waiting ambulance at Circular Quay.
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