Dave Lassam - Spotting MG99

Running time
1 min 11 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


We rescued 99 Vietnamese refugees in the South China Sea. They were on a very leaky boat which was not much longer than this room and they were on their last legs. Their water had run out, food had run out and the engine had conked out. And my understanding was we had an aircraft in the air and they were just doing some last sweeps at dusk and the people on board heard the plane, so they lit a fire using some of the petrol they had and the plane saw them.

And later that night, we rescued them, biggest rescue that we had been involved in since, forever, and they all survived. And 40 years later, of the 70, sorry of the 99, 77 went to Australia, 22 went to America, and they all had good lives apparently and made great homes themselves back here because as soon as we picked them up they then became our responsibility when you're out at sea like that.


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