-Edited by Bev Mortimer-The SAPS Search and Rescue (SAR) K9 team, which has five sniffer dogs, their handlers and a team leader have been honoured by His Excellency, President, Recept Tayyip Erdogan, at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, Türkiye, for their rescue and recovery operations during the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in February.
The SApS Search an Rescue team received the medal of supreme sacrifice on behalf of the organisation. Brigadier Vimla Moodley, the commander, who was tasked with leading the SAPS rescue and recovery operations received the medal of supreme sacrifice on behalf of the organisation.
The SAPS K9 team was among the first few rescue teams to arrive and successfully assisted in recovering and rescuing one live victim, aged 90, after 9 days of being trapped under the rubble and recovered over 200 bodies.
The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Fannie Masemola says the team displayed excellence and expertise that exists within the organisation.“It is an honour to lead such excellence,’ he said.
“When approached to go and assist the Turkish, they didn’t hesitate to respond to the call of duty. Thank you to each one of the team members for representing the SAPS and our country with great pride. Many thanks to Brigadier Moodley for leading effortlessly”, Masemola added .
The SAPS K9 Search and Rescue teams have been involved in numerous recovery operations across the world including the Haiti 2010 earthquake.