Interview with Peter Stefanovic, Sky News First Edition

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The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

Assistant Minister for the Republic

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Ben Leeson on 0404 648 275

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23 March 2023

PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: I hope you're having a good morning wherever you're watching. Let's go back to Canberra now. Joining us live is the Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes and Labor MP and the Assistant Defence Minister, Matt Thistlethwaite. And because of that, we'll start with you, Matt. Have we got any idea of why that chopper crashed near Jervis Bay last night?

MATT THISTLETHWAITE, ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Thanks, Pete. What we know is that about 9 o’clock last night an MRH-90 Taipan was conducting a routine operation, a counterterrorism operation, with members of the 2nd Commando division just off Jervis Bay at HMAS Cerberus [Creswell] there. And unfortunately, the chopper lost power in the main rotor and was forced to ditch onto the beach and near the water. Thankfully, all ten members of the crew are safe and okay, a couple with minor injuries, and obviously there'll be an investigation. But I think it's testament, Pete, to the skill and competence of the crew that they were able to ditch that helicopter safely in what was very trying circumstances and in the dark over the water. So full credit to the crew and thankfully they're safe.

STEFANOVIC: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. Could have been worse. So, what now? Can the chopper be repaired? Can it be reused again?

ASSISTANT MINISTER: Well, the MRH-90 is now on operational pause, so that's the whole fleet and there'll be a thorough investigation. There's actually crew on the ground there now that are conducting the investigation to try and find out what went wrong. But importantly, there'll be an operational pause on the use of the MRH 90 across the whole fleet.


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