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Santa Sighted Off East Timor

Santa Sighted Off East Timor

DEFENCE PUBLIC AFFAIRS ORGANISATION

MEDIA RELEASE

DPAO 373/99

Friday December 24, 1999

SANTA SIGHTED OFF EAST TIMOR

An unusual object has been detected by the navy frigate HMAS NEWCASTLE, during a routine patrol off the coast of East Timor's enclave, Oecussi.

"It was not something you see every day," the ship's captain, Commander Peter Naughton said.

"It began earlier this afternoon when several small dots appeared on the edge of the ship's early air warning radar screen. One of the objects was quite large with eight smaller objects leading the way. The slow moving contacts were detected to the north of Timor at distance of about 500 km from the ship.

"They are definitely heading south toward Australia", said Commander Naughton.

"It was as though the larger object was being towed by the smaller ones. We attempted to communicate with them on all frequencies but all we heard in reply was a hearty laugh and the jingling of bells.

"There was great excitement onboard", said Commander Naughton, "especially among those of the crew with children back home. We all knew what we were seeing."

Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral David Shackleton, who is currently en route to join HMAS NEWCASTLE for Christmas, said the Royal Australian Navy is delighted to announce that SANTA CLAUSE is definitely on his way south heading for Australia.

For more information and interviews with HMAS NEWCASTLE crew members, contact Commander Rod Dudfield, 0412 628 274.

For Chiefs of Staff: Communications with HMAS NEWCASTLE will be via INMARSAT telephone which may be affected by monsoonal atmospherics.

Issued by the Defence Public Affairs Organisation, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT, 2600 Media releases are available by email if you register at the Media Centre at www.defence.gov.au


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