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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 1448

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I take the opportunity on the motion for the adjournment to make a brief announcement on behalf of the Minister for Transport (Mr Charles Jones) in regard to the survivors of the ship 'Blythe Star'. I know all honourable senators 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 Peninsula after they drifted ashore on a life raft, and 3 of them made their way to the township of Dunalley and gave the alarm. A helicopter on charter to the Federal Department of Transport, 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 Hobart Hospital. I also must advise the Senate that 3 of the crew did not survive.

I know the Senate 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, Lenton Power, and M. T. Doleman. I understand the survivors have told officials that their ship sank off South West Cape on Saturday morning, 13 October, in relatively calm seas.

The Minister for Transport is sending a senior officer of the search and rescue section of his Department to Hobart to co-ordinate enquiries into that aspect so that the Government may be fully informed. As Mr Jones announced last Sunday, the Government shall be seeking a full and far ranging inquiry into the sinking of the 'Blythe Star', and I shall be reporting to the Senate further on this matter later. A preliminary investigation will commence as soon as possible.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 11.2 p.m.

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