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Wreckage of RAAF aircraft found in Vietnam.

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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Tuesday, 21 April 2009 057/09


Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Hon. Warren Snowdon MP today announced that an Australian Investigation Team believes it has found the aircraft flown by the last two Australian Defence Force members missing in Vietnam.

Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver disappeared on 3 November 1970. They had conducted a bombing mission and were returning to base when their Canberra bomber was lost without trace.

“The Australian Defence Investigation Team are confident they have located the Royal Australian Air Force Canberra bomber wreckage in thick jungle in an extremely rugged, remote and sparsely populated area of Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, near the Laotian border,” said Mr Snowdon.

Mr Snowdon said the Defence team has spent a week in the isolated province gaining information and hiking in to the wreck site. The recovery team deployed to the site by foot on Wednesday 15 April. While no human remains were found, a number of military artifacts have been discovered including a club badge which was unique to RAAF’s No. 2 Squadron.

“These brave airmen gave their lives in the service of their nation, and locating the crash site is an important step in accounting for them, “ said Mr Snowdon.

“Relatives of the two crewmen have been advised of the discovery, and Air Force will continue to keep them updated.”

Mr Snowdon praised the work of the DSTO in using innovative modeling techniques in order to refine the area of interest, plus the exhaustive and skilled research and expertise of the Army History Unit in supporting the Air Force investigation.

“Invaluable assistance has also been given by a number of former North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers and their commanders as well as many local villagers, and their compassion and commitment in assisting us is humbling,” Mr Snowdon said.

Mr Snowdon said the next step would be a thorough archaeological dig which will confirm whether there are any human remains at the crash site.

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Warren Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664