Singer Jill Barber's touring plans in Australia began with a detour when her Air Canada flight became part of a search and rescue operation on Monday (15Oct12).

The Canadian was preparing to land after a 14-hour flight from Vancouver when pilots announced they had been asked to help locate three people whose boat had capsized off the coast of Sydney.

According to, the plane's crew was asked to fly over the area in a bid to locate a yacht after coastguards had received a distress call, and Barber and her fellow passengers were asked to use binoculars, if they had them, to keep an eye out for the stranded sailors.

In an email to the music news website on Tuesday morning (16Oct12), Barber wrote, "An eventful flight for sure!"

She added, "I did not personally see the boat. I was sitting right next to the wing on the left-hand side of the plane, and the boat was spotted by a number of passengers on the right side."

"We did circle around the site a few times, and though I had a window seat I could not identify the boat myself. I spoke to those who did... apparently it was very small and distant. You would have needed binocs (binoculars) to identify the people on it I think."

An Air Canada spokesman has confirmed the story, revealing the plane passed over the stranded yacht twice before contacting Air Traffic Control in Sydney with the exact co-ordinates - so the sailors could be rescued.

The flight then continued to Sydney, where Barber has a string of shows and promotional appearances planned.