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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2646

Mr CHARLES JONES (Newcastle) (Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation) - by leave - Mr Speaker, I know that members will join with me in expressing our heartfelt relief to know that 7 of the 10 crewmen of the freighter 'Blythe Star' which has been missing since she left Hobart on 12 October bound for King Island, have been found safe. They were found late this afternoon on the eastern side of Tasman Peninsular after they had drifted ashore in a life raft and three of them made their way to the township of Dunalley and gave the alarm. A helicopter on charter to my department, which has been continuing the search, has collected the 4 men who were left on the beach and they are now receiving medical attention in Royal Hobart Hospital. I also must advise the House that 3 of the crew did not survive. I know the House joins me in expressing the sympathy of the Australian Government to the relatives and friends of these men. The survivors are: The Master, Captain Cruikshank; the cook, Alfred Simpson; the bosun, S. Leary; and seamen Cliff Langford, Malcolm McCarroll, M. T. Doleman. and Lenton Power. I understand the survivors have told officials that their ship sank off South-west Cape on Saturday morning, the 13 October, in relatively calm seas.

I am sending a senior officer of the search and rescue section of my department to Hobart to co-ordinate inquiries into that aspect so that I may be fully informed. As I announced on Sunday, I shall be seeking a full and far-ranging inquiry into the sinking of the Blythe Star' and I shall be reporting to the House further on this matter later. A preliminary investigation will start as soon as possible.

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