Town remembers police air tragedy
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.