Helicopter Crashes on Nias 9 Die
An Australian Defence Force helicopter has crashed on Nias, claiming the lives of 9 personnel. It crashed into a football field, cockpit first, after the engine failed 30-40m above the ground says a witness. Another two men sustained fractures but survived the accident and are being treated on HMAS Kanimbla.
Villagers rushed to the scene to assist any survivors escape. The helicopter caught fire and is now a blacked wreckage strewn across the football field.
General Peter Cosgrove, Chief of the Defense Force, said this is a terrible tradegy. Every effort is being made to return the bodies of the dead men back home as quickly as possible.
Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, and leader of the opposition Kim Beazley both offered condolences to the family and friends of the nine Australians killed.