Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has expressed his sorrow as search efforts continue to find four aircrew missing off the coast of North Queensland after their helicopter crashed on Friday night during a multi-nation military exercise.
All four missing aviators – (pictured left to right) Captain Daniel Lyon, Corporal Alexander Naggs, Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent and Warrant Officer Class Two Joseph Laycock – are from the 6th aviation regiment based at Holsworthy army barracks in Sydney.
Prime Minister Albanese said every Australian was thinking of the four families of the missing aircrew.
“Our thoughts are also with those that they serve alongside – friends, brothers and sisters in uniform who even now are aiding in the search effort. I’d also like to thank the support from other nations during this search effort. Our nation offers them all the strength that we can while their work goes on,” he said.
“This is a stark reminder that there are no safe or easy days for those who serve in our country’s name.”
The air crew were taking part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, which has brought together 13 nations and up to 30,000 personnel for exercises over the past week.
“An exercise dedicated to deepening international cooperation and building a more peaceful and secure world, serving their country and serving the cause of peace – there is indeed no higher calling,” said the Prime Minister.
“All Australians owe a debt to the brave men and women who wear our uniform and serve in order to protect our way of life here in Australia.
“On behalf of our nation, our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and colleagues of those who are missing,” he said.
The crash is one of Australia’s worse peacetime disasters and occurred as the MRH-90 aircraft was reportedly being phased out of military deployment.