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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 465

Senator BISHOP (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate, lt refers to fatal accidents involving school cadets. Is the Minister in a position to give any information about the sad news that a Royal Australian Air Force Caribou has crashed in Papua New Guinea killing 25 school cadets? ls the Minister aware that this accident follows closely upon 2 fatal accidents to school cadets training with the Army in South Australia, the most recent death being one on 20th August of a cadet aged 15 years? Will the Minister make urgent investigations into the existing training exercises to ensure that maximum safety and medical procedures are rigidly applied during training periods?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - 1 think the honourable senator will agree that all of us are very much saddened by the accident in Papua New Guinea and by the other accident to which he referred at the Army training centre. The accident in Papua New Guinea involves 30 people, a large number of whom are cadets, on a Caribou aircraft which is missing on a flight between Lae and Port Moresby. Nothing is known other than that information. All authorities concerned, including the Royal Australian Air Force, are conducting an extensive search in which 15 aircraft are taking part. The honourable senator knows the terrain where we believe the aircraft is missing. It is very dense, hilly country. The weather there at present is very bad and this is hampering operations. He can be sure that everything possible is being done. The Air Force ensures maximum safety in operation each time an aircraft is scheduled to take off and during the time it is in the air. As soon as I get any further information I will let the honourable senator know.

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