25th Anniversary of the Blackhawk Accident

25th Anniversary of the Blackhawk Accident

Family, friends, survivors and soldiers gathered in Townsville today as the Australian Army commemorated the 25th anniversary of the 1996 Blackhawk accident, which claimed 18 lives.

Led by the 5th Aviation Regiment, the service at the Palmetum in Townsville included a helicopter formation flypast in memory of the fallen.

The accident occurred during training for counter-terrorism operations on the night of 12 June 1996, when two Australian Army Blackhawk helicopters collided in the Townsville Field Training Area. 

The accident resulted in eighteen fatalities; fifteen from the Special Air Service Regiment and three from the 5th Aviation Regiment, and brought great suffering to families, friends and comrades.

Minister for Defence the Hon Peter Dutton, said many of those who involved that night still bear the injuries incurred, be they through the crash or through the subsequent response actions.

“25 years cannot diminish the tragic events, or the heroic acts undertaken by personnel at the scene, who despite the confusion, acted bravely and quickly to evacuate the injured,” Minister Dutton said. 

“We must also remember the professionalism of the follow-on ADF responders, Townsville General Hospital staff and Queensland Emergency Services, who prevented any further loss of life.

“The accident was a tragedy of great magnitude and reminds us that service to the nation is not something lightly entered into. 

“We remember those who fell, those that responded, and those that continue to endure grief and pain.

“Lest we forget.”