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Release of the Inquiry Officer's Report into the death of Signaller Sean McCarthy.

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Issued by Ministerial Support and Public Affairs, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT Phone: 02 6265 3343, Fax: 02 62656946

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MSPA 328/08 Thursday, 9 October 2008


The Inquiry Officer’s Report into the death of Signaller Sean McCarthy was released today.

The inquiry sought to establish the facts and circumstances surrounding Signaller McCarthy’s death in Afghanistan on 8 July this year.

Vice Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General David Hurley said, “Signaller McCarthy was an elite soldier, a member of the Special Air Service Regiment, who was serving with the Special Operations Task Group in Afghanistan.”

“This inquiry was directed by the Chief of Defence Force and led by an experienced officer with the assistance of legal, medical and investigative specialists,” Lieutenant General Hurley said.

The Inquiry Officer’s Report found that Signaller McCarthy died from massive wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated under the Long Range Patrol Vehicle he was travelling in.

The Inquiry Officer found that the Aero-Medical Evacuation process was conducted within timings specified by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and agreed to by Australia.

The Inquiry Officer also found that no equipment, personnel or process contributed to Signaller McCarthy’s death.

The Chief of Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal, Angus Houston has recommended and the Minister for Defence, the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, has agreed that a Commission of Inquiry into the death of Signaller McCarthy is not required.

The Chief of Defence Force has agreed to all six of the recommendations put forward by the Inquiry Officer.

Media Note: A copy of the inquiry report is available at:

The public report has operationally sensitive information redacted to ensure that its release does not jeopardise the safety of Australian soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

Media contact: Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664