Sat, Aug 20, 2011 - Page 5 News List

ABC team feared dead in Australia chopper crash

AFP, SYDNEY

A combination photograph released yesterday shows Australian Broadcasting Corp pilot Gary Ticehurst, left, veteran reporter Paul Lockyer, center, and cameraman John Bean.

Photo: AFP/Australian Broadcasting Corp

A three-man news team from the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) was feared dead yesterday after their helicopter crashed in a remote Outback area.

Veteran reporter Paul Lockyer, his cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst are believed to have died when the chopper came down near Lake Eyre in South Australia state, the state broadcaster said.

ABC managing director Mark Scott said it was “devastating” for the network.

“This has been the longest of nights and we fear it will be the saddest of days,” he said.

Scott described Lockyer, Bean and Ticehurst as “three news gatherers at the peak of their craft.”

“We have been going for nearly 80 years. I don’t think we have ever had a day like the day we might be facing, with news of the loss of three distinguished colleagues out reporting a story,” Scott said.

“Paul, Gary and John have each given decades of service to the ABC,” he said.

The crash happened late on Thursday, but it took police hours to reach the site due to its remote location.

Two bodies have been found, and police said they did not expect to find any survivors.

The names of the dead have yet to be released.

Lockyer was one of ABC’s most experienced journalists, serving as a correspondent in Washington, Singapore and throughout Asia in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Ticehurst has been ABC’s lead pilot in Sydney since the mid-1980s while Bean has worked for the broadcaster for 20 years in news and entertainment.

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