TRANSCRIPT: REMARKS ON NAVY PERSONNEL INVOLVED IN FATAL CAR ACCIDENT
TRANSCRIPTION: PROOF COPY E & OE
DATE: 30 MARCH 2011
TOPICS: Minister for Defence Stephen Smith remarks on Navy personnel involved in fatal car accident
STEPHEN SMITH: As you may well be aware, just before midnight last night near HMAS Cerberus, in Victoria, there was a terrible traffic accident. The traffic accident involved five young trainees at HMAS Cerberus. Cerberus, of course, is far and away our largest naval training institution.
The five young trainees involved were all marine technical trainees. As a result of the accident, very tragically, two young Navy trainees are dead and we extend our condolences and our sympathy to their families.
The other three are in hospital, either in a serious or a very serious condition and our thoughts are with them and their families. And we, of course, wish for them a speedy recovery.
Navy and the Defence Force will, of course, cooperate fully with the Victorian Police and the Victorian coroner in this matter. There will be a Coronal Inquiry into the two tragic deaths and in the meantime it wouldn’t be appropriate for me, or for Navy, to be drawn on any of the detail of the circumstances surrounding such a terrible accident.
This will be a terrible blow to the navy family, a terrible blow to the men and women at HMAS Cerberus. Earlier today, I spoke to the Chief of Navy Russ Crane, to get an update from him. And in the aftermath of this tragedy, again, our condolences and thoughts with the families concerned.
Navy have issued a statement and, as we speak, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Cerberus, Captain Mark Hill is giving a press briefing.
The families concerned have requested that details of the family – of the five involved in the accident not be released at this stage. Of course, we respect the wishes of the family, but in due in course the Navy will release full details of the deceased and of the other three seriously injured.
Thanks Prime Minister.
JOURNALIST: [Inaudible question]
STEPHEN SMITH: They were, as I understand it, off duty. They had leave until 6.30 in the morning, this morning. Other than indicating that, in the circumstances of a terrible accident, I wouldn’t be proposing to go into any detail.