Town re­mem­bers po­lice air tragedy

Pilbara News - - News - Tay­lar Amonini

Mem­bers of the Newman com­mu­nity, po­lice rep­re­sen­ta­tives from across Aus­tralia and fam­ily mem­bers of the fallen came to­gether on Satur­day to pay trib­ute to officers who lost their lives while on duty 15 years ago.

In 2001, Se­nior Con­sta­ble Philip Ru­land, First Class Con­sta­ble David De­war, Se­nior Con­sta­ble Don­ald Everett and Con­sta­ble Gavin Capes lost their lives in a plane crash on Aus­tralia Day.

The plane had been fly­ing into Newman Air­port re­turn­ing from a call-out to the Ki­wirrkurra com­mu­nity when it went down, making the in­ci­dent the largest loss of po­lice life in WA his­tory.

Se­nior Sergeant Larry Miller, of­fi­cer in charge of the Newman Po­lice Sta­tion, wel­comed those gath­ered at the re­mem­brance cer­e­mony, and paid trib­ute to the com­mu­nity’s sup­port of the ser­vice.

“This memo­rial and struc­ture is tes­ta­ment of this com­mu­nity’s duty and de­sire to keep the spirit of these four officers alive, as well as all other po­lice officers who have fallen be­fore and since,” he said.

“The crowd and com­mu­nity get stronger ev­ery year.”

At the memo­rial, mem­bers of the com­mu­nity, or­gan­i­sa­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tives and fam­ily mem­bers were able to lay wreaths and re­mem­ber the courage and lives lost, with a WA Po­lice air wing fly over, minute silence and po­lice prayer read by po­lice Chap­lin Keith Car­mody.

In the years following the in­ci­dent, the com­mu­nity has de­vel­oped the Bloody Slow Cup as a fundraiser for the po­lice fam­i­lies.

The week-long fundrais­ing event cul­mi­nates with a rugby match be­tween the Aus­tralians and New Zealan­ders of the town.

WA Po­lice Legacy man­ager Jill Wil­loughby said the money raised from the week­end goes to Po­lice Legacy.

This year, the Aussies won.

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