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Defence forces aid in Hobart



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THURSDAY. JANUARY Q. 1 975 No.405/75

DEFENCE FORCES AID IN HOBART

(Statement by the Minister for Defence,

the Hon. L.H. Barnard, MP)

The Minister for Defence Mr. Lance Barnard, said

today that the Navy, Army and Air Force had sent or were

preparing equipment and specialist personnel to assist the

civil authorities in Hobart in their task of locating

survivors and casualties, clearing damage from the shipping

channel, and restoring communications, following the collapse

of the Tasman Bridge over the Derwent River.

The resources of the Defence Forces had been

immediately offered for emergency aid and rescue work.

Among the latest moves last night a senior Army

engineer officer had been sent from Sydney to assess the

feasibility of temporarily bridging the Derwent River.

The Army in Sydney was also urgently preparing for sea two

LCM8 landing craft for use as emergency harbour transport

for ambulances and emergency hospital cases in Hobart.

It was expected that these vessels, from 10

Terminal Group, Balmoral, with a naval escort would leave

for Hobart in the next few days.

Earlier the RAAF had airlifted an Iroquois helicopter

from 5, Squadron, Fairbaim, ACT to Hobart. Mr. Barnard said

the helicopter and its crew were being made available for use

as an emergency air ambulance for Hobart suburbs isolated by

the bridge collapse.

Earlier this week the RAAF transported stores and

equipment from Sydney for the team of 14 Naval divers who have

been continually working at the disaster scene since they were

flown to Hobart from Sydney in a Naval aircraft early on

6 January, the morning after the disaster. '

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Among the first helpers to reach the disaster scene

in the early hours of last Monday were Army and Naval

personnel from Hobart establishments, who rushed to the

bridge site with emergency equipment and boats and assisted

in the search for survivors and patrolled the disaster area.

Mr. Barnard said that the current level of Defence aid

would be maintained and if necessary increased until it had

been determined by the civil authorities in Hobart that the

emergency had eased.

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