‘A tragic accident has taken nine fine Australians from us. We must carry the grief, we also carry the intense pride that in time may help make it bearable…’
A letter from one of the next of kin.
At approximately 4pm local time on 2 April 2005, Sea King helicopter N16-100 (callsign ‘Shark 02’), crashed on the Indonesian island of Nias while on a humanitarian support mission.
Nine Australian Defence Force personnel were fatally injured in the accident. An investigation was conducted by the Department of Defence Aircraft Accident Investigation Team (AAIT) and a Board of Inquiry (BOI) was appointed on 28 April 2005.
This was the Fleet Air Arm’s darkest hour, and we honour the memory of those who were lost.
LS Bennet was the helicopter utility crewman in Seaking Shark 02. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand on 16 October 1968 and was the eldest of four children in a close and loving family.
After completing his early education in New Zealand he moved to Australia in 1984 and completed his secondary education in Queensland. After leaving school he worked in a number of different capacities before joining the RAN in September 1990. He met his wife at Albatross in 1991 whilst they were on course together. They married in 1993 and raised two sons.
Initially a Safety Equipment sailor, he converted to become a Boatswains Mate. He was promoted to Leading Seaman in 1995 and served in East Timor in 1999.
In 2003 LS Bennet transferred to the Aircrewman category and requalified He was subsequently posted to 817 Squadron for operational flight training, and was later posted to 723 Squadron,HMAS CRESWELL and HMAS KANIMBLA. He qualified for Sea King embarked utility operations in September 2004 and anticipated being promoted to Petty Officer in December 2005, but it was not to be. On 5 April that year the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
Always passionate about his family, Leading Seaman Bennet will be remembered as a devoted father and husband. Marching on ANZAC Day with his sons proudly wearing his replica medals was a cherished tradition.
Lieutenant Matthew Peter DAVEY, RANR
Lieutenant Matthew Davey was a Medical Officer on Sea King Shark 02. He was born on 8 December 1973 in Adelaide. As a young man, he demonstrated both academic and sporting prowess. In 1988, Lieutenant Davey was accepted into an Enhanced Academic Program for all his academic subjects and he later graduated dux of Tuggeranong College. In 1989 he became the ACT Judo Champion.
LEUT Davey first studied science at the Australian National University and for periods in the 19902, was a visiting fellow both there and at the University of California. He graduated with a Batchelor of Science degree with First Class Honours in 1996. He was also awarded the University Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement and the Tillyard Prize for ‘the student whose personal qualities and contributions to University life have been outstanding’. In 1998, LEUT Davey earned the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust Fellowship for research at New York’s Cornell University Medical College. In 2000 he completed a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at Flinders University in Adelaide. Outside academia he had developed a passion for paragliding and had become an accomplished ballroom dancer.
LEUT Davey joined the Australian Army Reserve in 2000 as a Medical Officer, and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy Reserve as a Lieutenant in October 2002. He deployed to East Timor for Operation SPIRE in 2004, and was awarded the Australian Service Medal with clasp ‘East Timor’ and the United Nations Force Commander’s commendation for outstanding service. On 05 April 2005, the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
In civilian life, LEUT Davey was an Intensive Care Registrar in Canberra where his co-workers believed his towering intelligence, photographic memory and analytic mind made him a great scientist, his compassion and empathy made him a great doctor, and his sense of humour made him a great friend.
In February 2005, he was posted to HMAS KANIMBLA’s primary casualty reception facility for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST I. After returning to Australia in late Mar 05, he spent less than 24 hours at home before learning of the earthquake in Nias and volunteering to return to the region.
Well known as a dedicated professional by his colleagues in the Reserves, LEUT Davey’s service has been recognised by the renaming of the RANR Professional Studies Program’s Overseas Study Grant as the Matthew Davey Award. LEUT Davey will be remembered above all for his humanity and drive to succeed.
Lieutenant Matthew Phillip Goodall, RAN
Lieutenant Matthew Goodall was the Tactical Coordinator on Sea King Shark 02. Born on 28 March 1980 in Sydney, he grew up in Blakehurst on Kyle Bay in New South Wales. A keen sportsman, LEUT Goodall enjoyed soccer, tennis, cricket and particularly sailing, and played a musical instrument in the school band.
In 1994 LEUT Goodall joined the Air Training Corps at his secondary school. Cadet training was the highlight of his week and, in 1996, he was awarded the McGrath Shield for first place on the senior non-commissioned officer promotion course. He was also awarded a gliding scholarship.
In 1997, LEUT Goodall was awarded an ADF Scholarship and the following year he joined the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) as an RAN cadet. At ADFA, LEUT Goodall became very involved in campus life. he graduated from ADFA in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science. LEUT Goodall competed in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht race as a crewmember on a Navy sailing boat.
In 2002 LEUT Goodall completed is basic Observer course at RAAF East Sale and was awarded the prize for the best sportsman of his course. His subsequent postings included brief stints at 723 and 816 Squadrons, before transferring to 817 Squadron and its Sea Kings. He was promoted to LEUT in January 2004 and in August that year he completed his tactical coordinator training, gaining the Herbert Lott Trust Fund award for being the dux of his course.
Thereafter, LEUT Goodall spent some months deployed to the South Pacific before returning to Sydney in mid-December 2004 and proceeding on leave. He was recalled on 30 December 2004 to join HMAS KANIMBLA for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST, his first operation. On 05 April 2005, the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
LEUT Goodall will be remembered by his family and friends for his affectionate nature, sense of humour, energy and enthusiasm for life.
Sergeant Wendy Elizabeth Jones
Sergeant Wendy Jones was a Medical Assistant in the RAAF and a passenger on Sea King Shark 02. Born in Broken Hill on 30 October 1964, Sargent Jones’ childhood was spent in Broken Hill and, after secondary school in 1979, she completed a secretarial course. Following various employments in her home town she moved to Adelaide to work at a fitness centre.
Sergeant Jones had a love of sport, and particularly enjoyed outdoor activities. A keen participant in team sports and keeping herself fit, he was also known as a great motivator of others to do the same.
Sergeant Jones joined the Royal Australian Air Force in 1990 and served on a variety of Air Force bases as a Medical Assistant. Her qualifications and skill included health support, life support skills and critical incident stress management – peer support.
In 1990 she serviced in East Timor for five months while deployed on Operation WARDEN. She undertook another five month deployment in 2004 on Operation CATALYST in the Middle East area of Operations. She was also deployed in support of Operation BALI ASSIST after the Bali bombings. Sergeant Jones has received the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps for ‘East Timor’, ‘Iraq 2003’, and the ‘International Coalition Against Terrorism’. Other awards included the International Force East Timor Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. On 05 April the Indonesian President posthumously awarded her the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
Sergeant Jones embarked in HMAS KANIMBLA for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST II on 01 April 05, the day before the accident.
Very family oriented, Sergeant Jones maintained regular contact with her family members and will be remembered by her family and friends for her ability to form strong, long-lasting friendships.
Lieutenant Paul Kimlin was the aircraft captain of Sea King Shark 02. He was born on 01 January 1976 in Canberra. As a young child, LEUT Kimlin displayed a passion for flying and joined the Air Cadets at the age of 14. He was also a keen sportsman, playing soccer and baseball and representing ACT in softball. Later he enjoyed golf, cycling, swimming and snorkelling. In 1995 he began studying for a degree in Applied Science at the University of Canberra.
LEUT Kimlin joined the Royal Australian Navy in march 1996 as a Midshipman and direct entry pilot. Having received his ‘Wings’ in November 1998, he joined 723 Squadron at HMAS ALBATROSS. In 2000, he deployed to East Timor for six months as the Military Liaison Officer with the United Nations Transition Authority. In 2001 he was posted to 817 Squadron for conversion to Sea King helicopters.
LEUT Kimlin was promoted to Lieutenant in 2002 and deployed in HMAS KANIMBLA in 2003 for Operations SLIPPER, BASTILLE and FALKCONER which saw him fly missions in support of the fleet throughout the Iraq War. Returning to 817 Squadron’s home base at Nowra, LEUT Kimlin achieved full Sea King captaincy in September 2004.
Having shared Christmas 2004 with his family, LEUT Kimlin was recalled from leave on 28 December 2004 to prepare to deploy for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST.
For his operational service LEUT Kimlin was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps for ‘East Timor’, ‘Iraq 2003’, and the ‘International Coalition Against Terrorism’. Other awards included the United Nations Transitional Authority East Timor Medal, the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Iraq Campaign Medal. On 05 April the Indonesian President posthumously awarded her the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
LEUT Kimlin was an excellent ambassador for Navy aviation, making many public appearances in which he discussed his military career. LEUT Kimlin was very close to his recently widowed sister and his nephew. He will be remembered by his family and many friends for his many passions in life and his great wit and sense of humour.
Lieutenant Johathan Curlewis King, RAN
Lieutenant Johathan King was a qualified Sea King Tactical Captain, the co-pilot of Sea King Shark 02 on the day of the accident. Born on 31 October 1972 at Fern Tree Gully, Victoria, his family moved to Queensland in 1973. A keen and accomplished sportsman, he also developed a love for the ocean and a passion for diving and surfing.
LEUT King studied at the University of Queensland and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Natural Systems and Wildlife Management. In the same year, he won the Nambour Reds Rugby Union Club’s reserve grade ‘Best and Fairest’ trophy.
Throughout his time at university, LEUT King served with the Queensland Regional University Regiment but his marine interest won out and, in 1996, he joined the Royal Australian Navy as a Marine Science sailor. Was was promoted to Able Seaman in March 1998. In 1999 he was posted to HMAS CAIRNS and while attached to the Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) Flight, he became interested in aviation and joined a private aero club and obtained his restricted pilots licence. In 2000 LEUT king was commissioned as a Sub-Lieutenant. His goal was to become a helicopter pilot and he commenced flight training at which he excelled. LEUT King received his ‘Wings’ at the end of 2001.
LEUT King completed rotary wing conversion courses in 723 Squadron and was promoted to LEUT in 2002. In May 2003, he was posted to 817 Squadron. LEUT King was dux of the Sea King Pilot Operational Flying Training Course in 2004, for which he was posthumously awarded the Herbert Lott Naval Trust Fund Award.
Operation SUMATRA ASSIST was LEUT King’s first operation. On 05 April 2005, the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
Part of a large, extended family, LEUT King will be remembered for his loving nature, loyalty, sense of family and sense of adventure for life.
Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy
Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy was a Medical Officer on board Shark 02. He was born in Brisbane on 15 October 1974. He attained a very high level of academic and sporting achievement, showing a determination to succeed combined with a high level of commitment. From an early age he also demonstrated qualities of leadership serving as both a Prefect and House Captain in sport.
SQNLDR McCarthy graduated from the University of Queensland with a Batchelor of Medicine and Batchelor of Surgery in 1997, after which he completed his internship and residency at Nambour Hospital. He was a lifesaver with the Coolum Surf Club and a member of the team when it won the Australian Open Surf Boat Championship in 1999. In 2001, he and a friend competed in a 500km rowing race from the Canary Islands to Barbados in which they came second.
SQNLDR McCarthy joined the RAAF as an officer-cadet medical undergraduate in 1995 and in 2001 he completed his Officer Training Course. He had considerable experience in deployed operations, serving in Kyrgyzstan, East Timor and Iraq. He was also a member of the ADF medical teams that assisted after the Bali bombings in October 2002. For these deployments he was awarded the Australian Active Service Medal with clasps for the ‘International Coalition Against Terrorism’, ‘East Timor’ and ‘Iraq, 2003’. He was also awarded the Iraq Campaign Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. On 05 April 2005, the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Honour.
Promoted to Squadron Leader in 2003, he was posted from RAAF Williamstown to RAAF Pearce as the Senior Medical Officer. He helped develop skills in aeromedical evacuations and also gained an Early Management of Severe Trauma licence.
Following the December 2004 tsumami, SQNLDR McCarthy volunteered to serve, and was appointed Aeromedical Evacuation Coordinator in Aceh for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST I. After completing that mission in late March 2005, he returned to Australia. However, almost immediately, he redeployed for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST II. He embarked in HMAS KANIMBLA on 01 April 2005, the day before the accident.
SQNLDR McCarthy will be remembered by his close and extended family as compassionate, loving and kind, and by his colleagues as one of the brightest stars in the Air Force Health family.
Flight Lieutenant Lynne Elizabeth Rowbottom (nee Eadie)
Flight Lieutenant Lynne Rowbottom was a Nursing Officer in the RAAF and a passenger aboard Shark 02. She was born on 25 January 1962 in Launceston. Her four siblings were much older, and, as a consequence, she became very close to her nieces and nephews. FLTLT Rowbottom was married and had a son.
As a young student FLTLT Rowbottom particularly excelled in languages and it was this ability that helped her obtain a bursary to attend Broadland House Church of England Girls School While there, she became a competent pianist and was a member of the school choir. She also enjoyed sailing, hockey and horse riding. Although offered a teaching scholarship at the end of her secondary schooling, she had already decided that her chosen career was to be nursing. Caring for others less fortunate was to be her focus in life.
In 1980, FLTLT Rowbottom was accepted for training at the Launceston General Hospital and after graduation she obtained her midwifery certificate. In 1991 she accepted a position at Townsville General Hospital working in the Renal Unit.
A long-time ambition of FLTLT Rowbottom’s was realised in 1996 when she was accepted into the Royal Australian Air Force as a Nursing Officer. In 1999, the then Flying Officer Rowbottom was promoted to Flight Lieutenant, and in 2001 was posted to 323 Combat Support Squadron. In 2003 she was deployed to Operation CITADEL, Australia’s contribution to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor Peacekeeping Force, for which she was awarded the Australian Service Medal, with clasp ‘East Timor’. On 05 April the Indonesian President posthumously awarded her the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
FLTLT Rowbottom embarked in HMAS KANIMBLA for Operation SUMATRA ASSIST ll ON 01 April 2005, the day before the accident.
FLTLT Rowbottom will be remembered by family and friends for her good humour, her love for her family and animals and as a caring nurse who was dedicated to her patients.
Petty Officer Stephen Craig Slattery
Petty Officer Stephen Slattery was a Medical Assistant in the RAN and a passenger on Sea King Shark 02. He was born on 15 September 1966 in Paddington, New South Wales.
His father had served for 29 years in the Royal Australian Navy and in 1984 PO Slattery followed in his footsteps, enlisting as a Recruit Quartermaster Gunner. In 1988 he transferred to the medical category. He was promoted to Leading Seaman in 1998 and to Petty Officer in 2004. In February 2005 he was awarded the First Clasp to the Defence Long Service Medal for his twenty years of service to the RAN.
PO Slattery’s numerous postings to ships and establishments over the years included HMAS STIRLING, STUART, PENGUIN, SUCCESS, CERBERUS, ALBATROSS, NIRIMBA, BRISBANE, PLATYPUS, PERTH, WATERHEN, CAIRNS, KUTTABUL, HS RED and KANIMBLA.
In 1992 PO Slattery married and he proudly took on the role of father to his wife’s two children. Later, he became ‘Pa’ to two grandchildren who adored and loved him dearly.
PO Slattery embarked in HMAS KANIMBLA on 01 April 2005, the day before the accident. Assisting the earthquake victims of Nias in Operation SUMATRA ASSIST was his first operational deployment. On 05 April the Indonesian President posthumously awarded him the Indonesian Medal of Valour.
PO Slattery will be remembered by his family and friends for his fun-loving nature, unique sense of humour and his inherent willingness to please others.
Above: Family and friends come together to mark an anniversary of the loss of nine ADF personnel who lost their lives when Sea King Shark 02 crashed during a humanitarian support mission on the Indonesian island of Nias in April 2005. This particular service also recognised the completion of renovation work on the Albatross Memorial by the families of the Shark 02 aircrew. The families were involved in every stage of the renovation from the design through to the physical construction. The site now features a replica of the tail rotor blade which was left in Nias by the personnel of HMAS Kanimbla in memory of the Shark 02 crew. A plaque on the blade reads “A casting of a tail rotor blade from Shark 02 that was used as a temporary memorial at Tuindrao and cared for by the local people.” (Navy image).
Such ceremonies will be held every year to honour and remember those who were lost. We shall not forget them.