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Media Alliance Mourns Loss of Abc News Crew

SYDNEY (MEAA/Pacific Media Watch): The Media Alliance is saddened to learn of the feared deaths of three ABC greats: senior journalist Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst.

Police are expected to confirm in the next few days that the men were killed when their helicopter crashed near Lake Eyre on Thursday evening.

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 the Queensland floods.

He covered big stories, both domestic and foreign, and in later years turned his talents to indepth reporting of regional issues for ABC TV.

John Bean, a respected and highly versatile ABC camera operator, worked in news and current affairs, as well as for programmes such as Catalyst, The New Inventors and Gardening Australia. His career included several postings in the Pacific and further abroad.

Helicopter pilot 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, 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.

“On behalf of the Alliance I want to offer our sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of these news-gatherers, all of whom earned the respect of their industry during their careers for their work, their commitment and their compassion.”

The federal president of the Media Alliance, ABC Landline's Peter Lewis, has paid a personal tribute to his three 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.”



Pacific Media Watch is a media and educational resource compiled by the AUT Pacific Media Centre for the Pacific region.

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