Helicopter crash brings tough time for our Defence colleagues

Helicopter crash brings tough time for our Defence colleagues

Howard Broad, Police Commissioner

News of the helicopter crash on ANZAC Day was very hard to take.
 
Police took command of the recovery operation early on, as it is our responsibility to recover bodies on behalf of the Coroner.
 
Two police search and rescue specialists were winched into the crash site by helicopter but flight operations were eventually grounded due to weather conditions. Other search and rescue team members had to travel in by 4WD.
 
Recovering the bodies was a complex and demanding task due to the steep terrain. People from police, fire and ambulance services and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter did an outstanding job under trying circumstances, largely due to determination and professionalism.
 
It was particularly poignant for our search and rescue team, as they had carried out a rescue exercise with Defence staff the previous weekend.
 
We will have an ongoing role to play as the inquiry into the crash gets underway.
 
Police have a natural bond with the Defence Force, as uniformed personnel who work to serve our country. Our organisations frequently work together in search and rescue operations or on deployment overseas.
 
The nature of our work regularly takes staff into potentially dangerous situations. That is unavoidable. But when an organisation asks someone's mother, father, son or daughter to step into those situations, there is a strong sense of trust and responsibility.
 
To lose three lives at once is a terrible blow.
 
On behalf of Police and our staff, I would like to express support for the families of the three young men who were killed, for survivor Sergeant Stevin Iain Creeggan and his family, and the Defence Force personnel who are grieving.