Families gather for Nias tragedy service

Photo: BONNY GASSNER 

A MOVING memorial rededication service was held at HMAS Albatross on Wednesday to mark the ninth anniversary of the loss of the Sea King Shark 02 helicopter, which crashed in 2005 during a humanitarian support mission on the Indonesian island of Nias.

Nine Australian Defence Force personnel were killed in the crash, including four from 817 Squadron, who were based at HMAS Albatross. They were Lieutenant Paul Kimlin, Lieutenant Jonathan King, Lieutenant Matthew Goodall and Leading Seaman Aircrewman Scott Bennet.

The service recognised the completion of renovation work on the Albatross Shark 02 Memorial. 

Families of the Shark 02 aircrew were involved in every stage of the renovation of the memorial, from the design through to the physical construction. 

Acting commanding officer of HMAS Albatross Commander Mathew Bradley thanked the Shark 02 families for their involvement in renovating the memorial.

“Your efforts have produced something really special and enduring,” he said. 

“Thank you. Not only to you, their families, but to their friends and colleagues; and the personnel that serves at Albatross and will serve at Albatross in the years to come.”

The Albatross memorial now features a replica of the tail rotor blade that was placed at the Nias crash site by the personnel of HMAS Kanimbla, in memory of the Shark 02 crew.  

A plaque on the blade reads, “A casting of a tail rotor blade from Shark 02 that was used as a temporary memorial at Tuindrao, and cared for by the local people”.

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