Australia helps Indian Ocean neighbors enhance rescue skills

Australian authorities say they have helped make the Indian Ocean safer for air and sea travelers since the Malaysian airliner vanished in the vast expanse four years ago through search and rescue training with island nations.

Search and rescue officials from Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka are visiting the Australian Maritime Safety Authority headquarters in Canberra this week as part of a regional training program that began in 2015.

An Australian search and rescue coordinator who is taking part in the training, Rick Allen, says five Sri Lankan fishermen had been rescued more quickly and efficiently after their boat sank in 2016 thanks to an Australian online broadcast system to alert merchant shipping to an emergency that had been rolled out to the three countries.