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Three ABC newsmen die in helicopter crash

Friday 19 Aug 2011
Tributes are coming in for three veteran newsmen of Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, who were killed yesterday in a helicopter crash in remote South Australia.

Journalist Paul Lockyer, pilot Gary Ticehurst and cameraman John Bean died when their chopper crashed near Lake Eyre yesterday evening.

The experienced news crew had been working on news and feature projects in the Lake Eyre region and their Sydney-based helicopter went down in a remote area about 150 kilometres north-west of Marree about 7.30 p.m.

Authorities say it could take up to a year to find the cause of the crash.

Just before the tragedy, the experienced crew had been interviewing tourists on a small island near Lake Eyre. A witness reported seeing the helicopter do an unusual manoeuvre after taking off before it dropped out of sight.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott paid tribute to the men, who he called “three news gatherers at the peak of their craft”.

“It’s going to be one of our saddest days ever,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other leading politicians have expressed condolences to the ABC on the deaths.

The ABU’s Director of Sport John Barton, who worked with Mr Lockyer for many years, said: “He was a lovely guy, and a fine reporter”.