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Media Release

Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for the Environment


2 June 1998

Past and present Australian Antarctic expeditioners shared the sorrow of their Russian counterparts at news of the deaths of five people in a Russian helicopter crash near the Antarctic coast yesterday, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Antarctic, Senator Ian Macdonald, said today (Tuesday 2 June).

"Australia and Russia have cooperated many times in past years, and we share with our Russian friends the sense of loss caused by this tragic accident," Senator Macdonald said.

"In particular, Russian helicopter and aircraft crew are regular visitors to Australian stations, and in past years have unselfishly assisted Australia in evacuating sick and injured expeditioners in the spirit of cooperation that characterises the Antarctic Treaty," he said.

The accident occurred on Monday near Novolazarevskaya station, 2000 km west of Australia's Mawson station, when the helicopter was flying from the icebreaker Akademik Federov to the shore. The ship visited Hobart in April before leaving for the Antarctic.

Information and contacts:
James Shevlin, Senator Ian Macdonalds Office 02/6277 3665
Phil Wood, Australian Antarctic Division 03/6232 3513
Peter Boyer, Australian Antarctic Division 03/6232 3512

Commonwealth of Australia