Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Australian Media Alliance and
journalism community in expressing great sadness to learn of the feared deaths
of a highly respected three-man reporting team for the Australian Broadcasting
Senior journalist Paul Lockyer,
cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst are feared to have been killed
when their helicopter crashed near Lake Eyre on
the evening of April 18.
The Alliance reports that police are
still investigating the crash in a remote part of outback Australia, about
700 km north of Adelaide,
Lockyer, a journalist with more than
40 years’ experience, was the face of the ABC’s coverage of the Sydney Olympic
Games and, more recently, was heralded for his coverage of devastating floods
in the Australian state of Queensland
John Bean, a renowned and highly
versatile ABC camera operator, worked in news and current affairs. His career
included several postings in the Pacific and further abroad.
Gary Ticehurst was the ABC’s lead
helicopter pilot for more than two decades and played a significant role in the
rescue of 14 yachtsmen while covering the Sydney
to Hobart yacht
race in 1998.
The federal secretary of the Media
Alliance, Christopher Warren, who is also a member of the IFJ Asia-Pacific Steering Committee, says the tragedy
underscores the risks inherent in news-gathering.
“Our thoughts are with the families,
friends and colleagues of Paul, John and Gary. These tragic accidents occur
from time to time in the news business because journalists and their crews are
required by the nature of their work to take risks. We must not forget that
journalism can be a dangerous business,” he said.
The IFJ joins the Alliance in offering sincere condolences to
the families, friends and colleagues of the three men, all of whom earned the
respect of their industry for their work, their commitment and their
Media Alliance federal president and
ABC journalist Peter Lewis paid a
personal tribute to his colleagues: “All three were at the top of their game,
on an assignment they loved in a part of Australia they loved. Their loss
will be felt very keenly not only by their colleagues, but by the ABC’s
audiences for whom they consistently did such terrific work.
“On a personal note, I had the
privilege of working with each of them and they were always very professional
and generous as colleagues – they brought empathy and sensitivity to even the
most difficult stories. They will be greatly missed.”
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